Quicken Loans Arena has not been much of a home court advantage for the Cleveland Cavaliers when their opponent is their central division rivals the Detroit Pistons. The Cavaliers have lost five of the last seven meetings to the Pistons in Cleveland. Detroit made it six of the last eight as the Pistons put a stop to Cleveland’s five game win streak 96-88 on Monday night.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue contemplated sitting LeBron James for Monday’s game after playing with just eight guys for the majority of Sunday afternoon’s dominating 115-92 win against the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Lue perhaps should have given James the night off. LeBron finished with just 12 points on five of 18 shooting. James missed all four of his three point attempts and commited six turnovers. The last one coming in the final two minutes of the game and the Cavaliers trying to mount one last comeback. James would drive into the lane and right into a Pistons double team. James would lose the ball. Detroit would answer with the game clinching basket at the other end.
“I felt fatigued last night and this morning when I woke up, but I was able to get a nap and kind of felt better when I got back here,” James said. “And also got a pregame warmup. Maybe if I could second, if I could do it all over again I probably wouldn’t have an on-the-court workout before tonight’s game, but I feel like I needed to activate my legs. Uncharacteristic turnovers from our team, but mostly me. I probably should’ve had about 12 of them instead of six. I gotta do a better job of that, concentration level. Just being a little bit careless with a couple of my turnovers early in the game. And it just trickled down all the way into the fourth.”
Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were the only other Cavaliers to score in double figures on Monday night. The Pistons had six players score in double figures lead by Reggie Jackson with 23 points. All five Pistons starters scored in double figures. Andre Drummond had 16 points and 15 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 19 points. Marcus Morris and the recently acquired Tobias Harris each had 14 points.
Irving bounced back from being under the weather on Sunday in Oklahoma City. After Monday’s game, Irving told reporters that he didn’t leave the Thunder game with flu-like symptoms. Irving became ill due to a lack of sleep because of bed bugs that were in his room at the team’s hotel on Saturday night. Irving was very upset about the whole incident and didn’t hide his feeling when he addressed the incident before Monday’s game.
“Just imagine how freaked out you’d be if you saw friggin five, big ass bed bugs just sitting on your pillow,” Irving said. “I woke up itching and I’m just looking around and I’m like, ‘Are you serious right now?’ It was 3 a.m. and I was so tired at that point. It was whatever. As you can see I got it at the top of my head, it’s just like bed bugs and I didn’t get any sleep. We came into the game, then I was freaked out, then I started feeling nauseous so it was just a whole bunch of BS honestly.”
A rested and recovered Irving lead all scorers with 30 points to go along with five assists. Love scored 14 of his 24 points in the first quarter. Love wasn’t his normal self on the glass though. Love had just seven rebounds and three assists. Tristan Thompson was held in check by Drummond. Thompson was scoreless and had only six rebounds. With both Love and Thompson not in double figures in rebounds, it’s easy to see why the Cavaliers were out rebounded by the Pistons.
Channing Frye finally passed his Cavaliers team physical and made his Cleveland debut on Monday night. Frye, who took over the number nine jersey from Jared Cunningham who was dealt to Orlando in the Frye deal, played just nine minutes and scored two points and pulled down four rebounds and recorded an assist.
“I’ve gotta earn my time here,” Frye said. “I’m not worried. When Coach Lue calls my name I will be ready. I understand the situation I’m coming in. I’m not here to get stats. I’m here to do the little things like create floor spacing, hit open J’s and make sure that I keep the intensity on defense. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve seen since the break is this team is on point defensively and they do things a little different than Orlando. For me it’s just trying to catch on that part. The offensive part I’m not too worried about.”
The Cavalier have lost two of the three meeting against Detroit this season. The final meeting between Clevelan d and Detroit takes place on the final night of the regular season April 13. The Cavaliers next game is Wednesday night at home against the Charlotte Hornets. Cleveland lost the last meeting in Charlotte 106-97 on February 4.