NBA Betting Preview: Cleveland vs. Detroit

151117-preview-758The Cleveland Cavaliers will visit Detroit tomorrow to finish up a three-game road trip against the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Cavs are 8-2 on the season so far, and they are just one of four teams in franchise history to start the season 8-2 or better through the first 10 games. Those team include, 1976-77 (9-1), 2005-06 (8-2) & 2008-09 (8-2), so they have already made history and will go for more tonight against the Pistons.

There is a good chance they can win tonight since they are only allowing 95.6 points per game this season which is the 4th-best in the NBA.
They’ve also held opponents under .440 shooting in seven of the 10 games this season.

The Cavs are averaging 17.3 fast break points, ranking 4th in the league. Defensively, they are allowing just 10.2 fastbreak points whichi s the 5th-lowest. An example of this was on Saturday night at Milwaukee, where the Cavs outscored the Bucks 19-5 on the break.

Detroit is not so bad as their 5-5 record reflects. They are returning home after a tough six-game Western road trip where they won their first two before losing their last four games.

In the Pistons most recent loss against the L.A. Lakers on Sunday, Andre Drummond continued his historic start with 17 points and 17 rebounds. He’s been averaging 18.5 points alongside a league-best 19.0 rebounds.

Drummond is putting up eye-popping numbers, despite criticism from his coach, so they will be looking to return home and put an end to their four-game slide.

The criticism will be shared by both sides, sincce the Cavaliers probably won’t be feeling too find after LeBron James was slightly critical of their play. Their eight-game win streak ended with Saturday’s 108-105 double-overtime loss to Milwaukee. “We’re not a great team right now,” James said. “We’re a good team but we’ve gotta improve on a lot of things.”

James finished with season highs of 37 points and 12 rebounds. He had seven turnovers though which were his most in 2015-16. Right now, he needs 10 points to pass Jerry West for 19th all-time.

“I had too many turnovers, it happens,” James said. “Aaron Rodgers throws interceptions as well, you don’t expect for him to do it, it just happens. It’s one of those games.”

Both of the Cavaliers’ losses came on the road against Central Division opponents. They will play hard to try to avoid that same fate against Drummond and the Pistons. Drummond has 10 straight double-doubles, so they have a lot to be worried about.

“He’s just dominated the backboards on both ends of the court,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “And I think that you’re not going to stop him but you’ve got to try to limit him, just like a great scorer.”

Cleveland has a plan though, they will match him up against the second-best rebounder in the East with Kevin Love, who is averaging 12.1 points. They’ll do this because the one weakness for the 6-foot-11 Drummond is that he is averaging just 1.4 blocks, ranking outside the league’s top 20. And Detroit is last in the league with 3.2 blocks per game.

“Andre does a lot of great things but he is not protecting the rim at all,” coach Stan Van Gundy said critically of the player.

Cleveland won three of four games against Detroit last season. Yet only in the last two games did guard Reggie Jackson face the Cavaliers with the Pistons. He totaled 40 points and 17 assists in the pair of defeats. Jackson is averaging a team-best 20.4 points. But he was held to a season-low 9 with five turnovers in the loss on Sunday which was the finale of a six-game trip.

“Tonight his decision-making was terrible, he was trying to go behind his back in the middle of the lane, he was up in the air,” Van Gundy said of the guard. “Look, he just had a really bad night. The guy has had a heavy workload on this trip.”

With little confidence in his Pistons, we’ll go for the Cavs to take the win and make it 9 tomorrow night.

Our Pick: Cavs over Pistons, 105-89