Live Pistons blog: Pistons fall to Cavs in Game 1
Despite valiant effort, Pistons come up short in Game 1
Reggie Jackson was called for a technical foul, Andre Drummond let a defensive rebound slip right through his hands and the Pistons just couldn't put together a final push down the stretch to take Game 1 in Cleveland.
Led by Kyrie Irving's 31 points, the Cavs held on despite a valiant effort by the Pistons, 106-101.
The Pistons were competitive all game long. They even took a seven-point lead in the first minute of the fourth quarter. But when it counted, they just couldn't contain Irving and Kevin Love (28 points).
The Pistons couldn't get a shot in crunch time as Reggie Jackson dribbled himself into trouble time after time. A LeBron James layup with just over a minute to play stretched the Cavs' lead to six points and the Pistons answered that with a 24-second shot clock violation.
Marcus Morris was hot in the first half on his way to 19 points, but he was a non-factor in the second half, finishing with 20.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a game-high 21 points, 10 of which came in the first quarter.
The Pistons were 15-for-28 from beyond the arc, while the Cavs were just 12-for-25.
This game saw 21 ties and 17 lead changes. The Pistons had their opportunities. Expect a more aggressive Reggie Jackson at the get-go in Game 2. The Pistons have to find a way to close out on Love at the 3-point line. That's their biggest issue going forward.
James finished with 22 points and 11 assists.
Love leading Cavs down the stretch
The Pistons got burned twice by Kevin Love, who drilled two wide open 3-pointers and has been the go-to shooter today for Cleveland. Love has a game-high 28 points and the Cavs lead, 96-92, with 3:50 remaining.
Reggie Jackson, whose name was rarely called in the first half, has been aggressive here in the fourth quarter. He's got 12 points for the game and the Pistons are going to need some big shots from him down the stretch if they want to shock the world and win Game 1 in Cleveland.
Back-and-forth they go
Richard Jefferson has come back from the dead to hit a couple big shots and that has helped spark the Cavs, but Reggie Jackson had an answer of his own, drilling a 3-pointer in the face of Iman Shumpert to tie the game, 88-88, with 6:28 remaining.
The Pistons need to close out at the perimeter down the stretch as Cleveland is getting way too many open looks from beyond the arc.
Cleveland punches back
The seven-point lead was a short-lived one for the Pistons as the Cavs came out of the timeout with a quick 7-0 spurt in just under two minutes.
Richard Jefferson and Matthew Delavedova answered the Pistons quick with big jump shots out of the timeout, while LeBron James got an easy bucket at the basket to tie things up, 83-83, with 9:23 remaining.
Cavs take early 4th quarter timeout
The Pistons came out in the fourth quarter and got two big buckets to stretch their lead, 83-76, with 11:04 remaining.
Tobias Harris hit a runner in the lane before forcing a tough shot by Kevin Love on the other end of the floor. Reggie Bullock then struck with a 3-pointer and the Pistons appear to be the early aggressor in the final frame.
Pistons take slim lead into 4th quarter
Andre Drummond didn't need to do much in the first half as the rest of the team was competitive and able to build a lead. In the second half, however, the big man has shown the mismatch he can be for the Cavs in this series.
Drummond has his double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds entering the final quarter, and the Pistons are still holding onto a slim lead, 78-76.
The Cavaliers' big three have shown up in a big way. The others? Not so much. Tristan Thompson got his first points of the game in the third quarter and the rest of the team has just 14 points.
The Pistons appear to be in this one until the end. They have to continue to show the resiliency they've showed through three quarters, as Cleveland will undoubtedly make a run.
Pistons continue to answer Cavs big shots
J.R. Smith has struggled today, but he hit an off-balance 3-pointer in the corner to give Cleveland a five-point lead, its biggest of the day.
The Pistons have started looking for Andre Drummond more on the offensive end, and anytime he gets the ball in good position, he finishes easily. He also has a block and is just generally more active on the floor right now.
Stanley Johnson hit his third 3-pointer of the day to tie the game, 74-74, and that's where it stands as of this post with 2:40 to play in the third quarter.
Irving gets it going
Kyrie Irving single-handedly erased the Pistons halftime lead and then some with eight consecutive points in the first minute of the second half. Tobias Harris answered with a 3-pointer to tie the game, but the Pistons are still having trouble controlling Irving and Kevin Love, who have combined for 42 points.
With the fans in Cleveland going crazy, Stan Van Gundy elected to let his team play through adversity. They've responded to retake the lead, 67-65, with 7:13 to play in the third quarter.
Pistons hold their own in first half
The Pistons arrived in Cleveland as heavy underdogs, but they certainly didn't play that way in the first half, matching the Cavs bucket for bucket on their way to a 58-53 halftime lead.
Marcus Morris has been on fire for Detroit, shooting 6-for-9 from the field on his way to a game-high 19 points in the first half. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had himself quite the first half, knocking down big shots on his way to 13 points.
As a team, the Pistons are 10-for-16 from beyond the arc. It's been a weapon.
The problem right now is the big three for the Cavs. Kevin Love (18 points), Kyrie Irving (14 points) and LeBron James (12 points) have combined 44 of the Cavs 53.
The Pistons bench has played great thus far. They'll have to keep it up. Steve Blake had five assists in just nine minutes, while Stanley Johnson has hit a couple of big shots to slow Cleveland runs.
It's hard to imagine the Pistons continuing to shoot 60 percent from the field. They're going to have to up the intensity on the defensive end, and at the very least, slow down one of the Cavs' big three.
Andre Drummond hasn't been much of factor. He has just two points and three rebounds at the half.
Cleveland goes on a run
The Cavs just went on an 8-0 run and have taken the lead back, 41-39, with 6:07 to play in the first half.
This latest run has been led by Kyrie Irving (14 points) and Kevin Love (10 points). With LeBron also sitting at 10 points, the trio has definitely shown up for Cleveland in the first half. The Pistons are playing well enough, for now, to offset that.
Pistons out to second quarter lead
The Pistons bench has 14 points already and the has outplayed the Cleveland bench, pushing the team to a 39-33 lead with 8:02 to play in the second quarter.
Kyrie Irving hit a long 3-pointer to give the Cavs a lead, but Stanley Johnson answered with a dagger of his own for the first postseason points of his career. Aron Baynes converted an and-1 three-point play, Reggie Bullock hit a long ball from the corner and Johnson hit another one as the Pistons have showed poise up and down the roster.
It's been that kind of game as these two teams continue to go back-and-forth at each other. The Pistons have done a nice job of turning their energy for this game into a weapon. It could have gone one of two ways and the Pistons have found a nice balance.
Pistons and Cavs play tight first quarter
The Pistons came out loose at the tip and led by as many as seven points in the first quarter. The Cavs, to no one's surprise, pushed right back and lead, 27-25, at the end of the first quarter.
The Pistons shot 59 percent in the opening frame, compared to 52 percent for Cleveland. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Detroit with 10 points, while Marcus Morris poured in eight.
LeBron James has 10 for the Cavs.
Reggie Jackson and Stan Van Gundy are giving the refs an earful at the moment, and quite frankly, the refs deserve it. James has gotten away with two offensive fouls. One was a no-call and the other was called on Jackson. This is how the NBA works. The Pistons are young. No one is going to give them anything. They have to play through referee bias.
Pistons hold slight lead late in 1st
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope helped spur a 12-2 run by the Pistons as their lead ballooned to seven. KCP has seven points right on 3-for-4 shooting.
It's still a back-and-forth affair right now, but the one thing the Pistons have to work on is defensive rebounding. The Cavs have three early offensive rebounds and this is not a team you an allow second looks at the bucket.
Right now, it's 20-18 with 2:28 to play in the first quarter.
Pistons show no signs of nerves
Marcus Morris hit the first field attempt of the game as the Pistons battle the emotions that come with the franchise's first playoff game in seven years. The Cavs answered quickly with a second-chance 3-pointer from Kevin Love from the corner.
LeBron James got his first points of the game in transition, but the Pistons are showing no signs of fear, playing fast and loose to start the game.
Marcus Morris has six points on 3-for-3 shooting to lead the Pistons and James has six points on three easy layups. At the first timeout, the Pistons lead, 13-11, with 6:37 to play in the first quarter.
Pistons back on the national stage...for now
The Pistons are back in the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2009. Their reward is a date with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.
Stan Van Gundy has led the dramatic overhaul for the Pistons over the past two seasons, and many think the growing pains are sure to continue against the Cavs for one of the NBA's youngest teams.
The facts are, the Pistons matchup well with Cleveland. They took three out of four games from the the Cavs this season, including two out of three that were played before a meaningless regular season finale. By no means is anyone calling the Pistons a true threat, but they've got more than enough pieces to compete in this series.
Andre Drummond is the x-factor. If he can show up with the kind of energy he played with early in the regular season, the Pistons can make this a long series. Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov are no match for him in the paint.
While James is undoubtedly the best player in the series, the biggest matchup problem for the Pistons is probably Kevin Love, who scored 29 points in a January win for Cleveland at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons don't guard the perimeter well, so Love's outside shooting might make him the most dangerous player in the series. The Pistons have to be content with letting James get his stats, but if they're going to be able to steal a game or two, they're going to have to shore up their perimeter defense.
Things get started today in Cleveland with tip-off set for just after 3 p.m.