Clutch Feed: Jr Smith returns to the court for Cavs-Pistons
Cavaliers: 52 – Pistons: 55
The Cavaliers are shooting 47.7% from the field and 23.5% from three.
The Pistons are shooting 52.4% from the field and 46.2% from three.
CLE: L. James – 19 points
DET: K. Caldwell-Pope – 12 points
CLE: 20 (L. James – 8 rebounds)
DET: 20 (A. Drummond – 8 rebounds)
CLE: 10 (T. Thompson – 3 assists)
DET: 12 (I. Smith – 3 assists)
UPCOMING MILESTONES: Kyrie Irving needs eight more assists to claim the 6th most in Cavaliers history – passing Brad Daugherty. With four more blocks, Tristan Thompson will have blocked the 9th most shots in franchise history while passing Jim Brewer. If James Jones checks in, he will have played in his 700th game.
JR Smith returns to action after three months of injury. The only bad thing about Swish returning is his entrance might force James Jones to wait another day for his 700th appearance. Other than that, it will be interesting to see how he plays with Clevelands latest additions like Deron Williams and Kyle Korver. His shooting can also help Kyrie reach 6th all time in Cavalier assists. Now, as for the Cavs as a team…
After an embarrassing two straight losses against the Miami Heat, the Cavaliers look to bounce back quickly, and start to find a rhythm again. As they head to Detroit to take on the Pistons, it is expected that Cavaliers’ fans will see a familiar face on the court tonight – J.R. Smith, despite feeling a bit sick, is supposed to make his return tonight off the bench in limited minutes, after he’s been out since December with a fractured thumb. In addition, head-coach Tyronn Lue will also be making his return tonight after missing time due to illness. Unfortunately, just as one elite shooter comes back, another has to stay out of tonights’ contest – Kyle Korver will miss due to foot soreness. This matchup marks the second night of a back-to-back for the Pistons, as they fell to the Indiana Pacers last night 98-115.
This season, the Cavaliers and Pistons have faced off twice before – the season series stands at 1-1. On November 18th, the Cavaliers won 104-81, as Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 25 points on 73.3% shooting, where the Pistons had just one player in double digits – Jon Leuer with 15. On December 26th, it was a fairly different story, as the Cavaliers fell 90-106 without LeBron James. The Cavaliers had five players in double digits, while Tobias Harris scored 21 and Andre Drummond pulled down 17 rebounds for Detroit.
As a team, the Pistons thrive off the glass – they are fifth in the league in rebounds per game. Tristan Thompson will have his work cut out for him as he tries to slow down Andre Drummond’s rebounding down low. The Cavaliers will have to watch out for mid-range shots – where the Pistons make a league-high 20.9% of their points while shooting a second-best 43.7% in that range. In addition, their guards often opt to pull up off the dribble, accounting for 23.6 points per game. The Cavaliers can relax a bit while defending the three point line, as the Pistons shoot the fourth worst three point percentage at just 33.3%.
Key players to watch for on the Pistons will be Tobias Harris (averaging 16.3 points per game), Reggie Jackson (averaging 14.9 points and 5.4 assists per game), and Andre Drummond (averaging 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds [second in the league] per game).
Tipoff is set for 7:30 EST and will be broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio.