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The Cavaliers wrap up the 2018 NBA Preseason this weekend when they take on the Detroit Pistons at Michigan State's Jack Breslin Student Events Center this Friday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET).
The Wine & Gold enter Friday night with a 2-1 Preseason record after topping the Boston Celtics two games in-a-row before falling to the Indiana Pacers last Monday night, 111-102, at The Q. While these games don't count in the long run, the Cavs were able to get some valuable playing time before the long haul begins later this month.
Despite the loss to Indiana, the Cavs showed that they're already beginning to mesh well. In fact, the squad was able to record a 2018 Preseason-high 27 assists on 40 made baskets in that game, which shows some solid teamwork. Six players had at least three assists for the Wine & Gold led by George Hill, who tallied five assists to go along with his 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals in 28 minutes of work.
It was Kyle Korver though, who shot lights out on Monday, tallying a team-high 17 points on 6-10 (.600) shooting from the field, including 4-7 (.571) from beyond the arc in 20 minutes off the bench. Last season, Korver led Cleveland with 164 triples and shot .436 from beyond the arc (sixth-best in NBA). Over his regular season career, he has knocked down 2,213 three-pointers, which ranks fourth all-time in NBA history.
Also on Monday night, John Holland contributed 13 points on 5-7 (.714) shooting, including a perfect 3-3 from three-point range, and three assists in 12 minutes, while Sam Dekker pitched in 10 points and a pair of steals in 32 minutes against the Pacers.
With Indy in the rear-view mirror now, the Cavaliers have shifted their focus onto another divisional rival - the Detroit Pistons - who, like the Pacers, have their eyes set on dethroning Cleveland as Central Division champions (a title the Cavs have owned for four straight years).
Detroit enters the 2018-19 Season with a retooled roster and a brand-new bench boss in Dwane Casey. Casey, who despite winning Coach of the Year last year with Toronto, was let go by the Raptors after they were bounced by the Cavs in last year's Playoffs. The 61-year-old will now be in charge of leading a team with two All-Star big men manning the frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin.
Both Drummond and Griffin have been beasts this preseason, despite their team only recording one win in four games. In Detroit's most recent contest, a 102-97 loss to the Washington Wizards, both men scored in double-digits with (Drummond-17, Griffin-16) while Drummond mesmerized the league with 20 boards, which gave him a double-double on the night.
Detroit also earned plenty of support from the rest of their team with four other players scoring in double digits (Robinson III-13, Smith-12, Bullock-12, Jackson-10). If the Pistons want to excel this year, then those guys are going to need to continue supporting Drummond and Griffin when they rest.
Going forward, the Pistons are hoping to find new life in the Eastern Conference and after missing the playoffs for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons last year, they'll hope to get off to a hot start when they begin play on October 17 when they kickstart their schedule at home against the Brooklyn Nets.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Radio: WTAM 1100, 100.7 WMMS, 87.7 La Mega
Status Update: (Pistons) - TBD
*Subject to change.
Looking back to last year's Regular Season, Cleveland had a much easier time with the Pistons than with the Pacers, winning three of their four meetings.
It was an interesting series to say the least with both teams routing one another in their respective wins. In the Cavs' first two victories, they combined to outscore the Pistons, 237-192, before topping their rivals, 112-90 in the last meeting of the season. The Pistons' lone win came on the back of a high-scoring, 125-114, shootout.
Over the course of the entire series, the Cavaliers led the Pistons in all major stats categories, including FG% (.493/.446), 3PFG% (.412/.390), and FT% (.837/.652).
Individually speaking, Kevin Love was outstanding for the Cavaliers in the first two games of last year's divisional series. In each of those wins, Love posted a double-double (19 pts/11 rbs and 20 pts/11 rbs, respectively). The All-Star also tallied a .615 FG% and a .625 3PFG% over each game.
For Detroit, big man Andre Drummond had himself a great series despite his team finding themselves on the wrong side of the 3-1 series record. Like Love, the 25-year-old also had two double-doubles in the series, including a monster performance in his club's lone win on January 30. In that game, Drummond tallied 21 points and 22 rebounds through 37 minutes of action. He also shot an exceptional .750 from the field.
Going forward, Drummond and the Pistons will face Love and the Cavaliers once again later this month on October 25 when they kickstart their four-game Regular Season series at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. The two teams will play one more time at Little Caesars (November 19) before rounding out the series with two games at The Q on March 2 and March 18.
Following Friday's neutral site matchup, the Cavs' will begin the 2018 Regular Season on the road against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, October 17 before travelling to Minneapolis to battle the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, October 19. The Cavs the head home to open the season at The Q on Sunday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) when they tipoff against the Atlanta Hawks.