The Cleveland Cavaliers have mostly been picking on sub-.500 teams during their four-game winning streak but face a stiffer test Monday night when they visit the Detroit Pistons. The Cavaliers sent the Los Angeles Clippers to their seventh straight loss Friday, although they had to overcome a 15-point deficit and win in overtime 118-113.
“We’re built for when the game slows down. And late in games is when the game slows down,” Cleveland veteran Dwyane Wade told reporters. “And that’s kind of where we are good, so that’s what we’re built for.” LeBron James had 39 points, 14 rebounds and six assists while making four 3-pointers for the second straight game to lead Cleveland, which has won three in a row on the road. That streak will be up against a Pistons squad that has won nine of 12 and comes in on a high note following a 100-97 win at Minnesota on Sunday. Andre Drummond’s 20 points and 16 rebounds led the way, while Reggie Jackson scored three times in the final 90 seconds to fuel a late comeback.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cleveland), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (9-7): Iman Shumpert is expected to miss about a week of action due to knee pain, which should give a starting spot to veteran Jose Calderon. The 36-year-old Calderon has seven points, five assists and five turnovers in 48 minutes on the season and hasn’t produced a basket since Oct. 25. James and Wade - who had 23 points and 11 rebounds Friday - will also get plenty of time running the offense.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (11-5): Drummond’s double-double was his 12th of the season and it came despite having a hard fall in the third quarter that prompted a visit to the sidelines. Avery Bradley chipped in 18 points and finished Detroit’s three-game road trip with an average of 20.7 while making 11-of-18 from 3-point range. The Pistons are returning home for the first time since a 5-0 homestand Nov. 3-12.
1. Cavaliers PF Kevin Love is averaging 21.8 points over his last six games and that includes a six-point outing.
2. Drummond is averaging 17.9 rebounds over a seven-game stretch.
3. The Central Division rivals split four meetings last season, with the home team winning each time.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 105, Pistons 101