When you’re hot, you’re hot. And right now, the Wine and Gold – even without the services of their All-Star backcourt on Wednesday night – are on fire heading towards the All-Star Break, notching their fourth straight double-digit win.
Playing without both Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, the Cavaliers didn’t miss a beat – going wire-to-wire once again, jumping out to an early lead and putting the affair on ice with a fourth quarter surge en route to the 113-85 laugher over Detroit at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Including Wednesday’s victory, the Cavaliers haven’t trailed for a single minute of action since the 5:10 mark of the first quarter on Sunday afternoon in Indiana – and once again, they were the aggressors early, taking full advantage of a struggling Pistons squad that’s now dropped nine of its last 11 games.
For the second straight contest, Jarrett Allen led the Cavaliers offensively – doubling-up with 20 points and a game-high 14 boards, going 9-for-13 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the stripe, grabbing half his rebounds off the offensive glass.
The Cavs are now 17-6 this season when the 6th-year man from Texas notches a double-double.
Evan Mobley followed up with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, adding eight boards and three assists in the win.
Caris LeVert got off to a rough shooting start in place of Donovan Mitchell, but drilled all three attempts in the fourth quarter – finishing with 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting, adding five boards, five assists and a pair of steals.
And then there’s Raul Togni, who got his first start of the season on Wednesday and responded in fine fashion – chipping in with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, leading both squads with eight assists and four steals.
Overall, Cleveland simply dominated Detroit down low on Wednesday – outscoring the Pistons, 70-32, in the paint while holding a 48-30 advantage on the boards. Offensively, the Cavs shot an even 50 percent from the floor and handed out 30-plus assists for the fifth time in their last six outings.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pistons with 15 points, but struggled from the floor to do so. The frontline combination of Bogdanovic and Isaiah Stewart combined for just 8-of-25 shooting, with Detroit shooting just 37 percent from the floor as a team.
FEAT. HIGHLIGHT: RUBIO'S DISH TO LAMAR
Feat. Highlight: Ricky's Dish to Lamar
One of the biggest keys to winning in the NBA is learning to close quarters strong. On Wednesday night, the Cavaliers set the Pistons up to end the third, and knocked them down to start the fourth.
Cleveland led by as many as 18 points midway though the second quarter, but the Pistons began chipping away from there. And when Alec Burks canned a pair of free throws with four minutes to play in the period, the Cavs lead was whittled down to two, 62-60.
But Ricky Rubio and Cedi Osman answered with back-to-back buckets, and Dean Wade’s triple in the closing seconds of the third quarter put Cleveland back ahead by double-digits. The Wine and Gold then proceeded to score the first nine points of the fourth quarter to give themselves all the breathing room they’d need – leading by as many as 31 during that final flurry.
BY THE NUMBERS
25 | 18 … games this year, respectively, that the Cavaliers have won by 10 or more points and games that they’ve held their opponent under 100 points. Both marks are tops in the NBA this season.
Cleveland has 17 wins of at least 10 points, seven wins of 20 or more and a 32-point win over the Bulls back in late October. The Cavaliers give up the fewest points in the league at 106.5ppg, and are now 17-1 in games that they’ve held their opponent under the century mark.
Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, on how dangerous the Cavs can be when they’re playing defense at this level …
“We understand, and our guys are understanding, what it takes to really be a good team, and where we’re different. And our defense is what makes us different. So, if we’re willing to commit ourselves to that end of the floor like we have – and we’ve turned it up even more – and with the offensive weapons we have, we’re gonna be a hard out. And I think guys feel that.”
CALLS OF THE GAME
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 98.1.
After blasting the Pistons on Wednesday, the Wine & Gold have just four more games before the All-Star Break – two on the road, two at home.
On Friday night, the Cavaliers travel to the Smoothie King Center for their final Western Conference road game of the season – taking on Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans as they attempt to snap an 11-game losing skid in the Big Easy. On Saturday night, Cleveland returns home to face off against the Bulls at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Cavs close out the season’s unofficial first half next week – welcoming the Spurs to town for a Monday night meeting before traveling to Philly for a Wednesday night showdown with the Sixers.