Rod Beard, James Hawkins, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News predict the outcome of the Pistons-Cavaliers first-round series in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Rod Beard: The Pistons are back in the playoffs, but they get a tough draw in the experience-rich Cavaliers. They won’t be projected to win more than a game or two, but the bigger goal is to get some valuable experience to build on for next year. Keeping the reins on the Big Three of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will be too much for the Pistons to do for an entire series, but Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris will be bigger factors than normal for the Pistons. It could be a coming-out party on a national stage in Andre Drummond’s first playoff series. Cavaliers in five.
James Hawkins: Pistons are heading in the right direction, but it’s just not their time yet. They lack the playoff pedigree, bench depth and overall talent of the Cavaliers. And it doesn’t help that LeBron James is entering the postseason on an absolute tear. The Pistons will snap their eight-game playoff losing streak to the Cavs and gain valuable experience, but ultimately won’t be able to keep pace. Cavaliers in five.
John Niyo: LeBron James hasn’t lost a first-round series in his NBA career. He hasn’t even lost a first-round game since 2012. But assuming Reggie Jackson’s healthy, the Pistons have enough talent to steal a game. Just not a series. Because once they do, they’ll have the Cavaliers’ undivided attention. Cavaliers in five.
Bob Wojnowski: Realistically and logically, the Pistons don’t have much of a chance. But they could make it interesting if Andre Drummond grabs about 18 rebounds per game, Reggie Jackson scores 28 per game, and Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris hold LeBron James to fewer than 28 per game. Lots and lots of ifs. The reality is, James is healthy and playing great, and the Pistons are young and unfamiliar with this stage. It might be fun, but not for long. Cavaliers in five.