NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 17th (All times eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (40-39) at Detroit Pistons (52-27), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With their playoff dreams still hanging in the balance, the Cleveland Cavaliers face a huge challenge this afternoon when they take on the Central Division champion Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Cleveland has lost two straight, five of seven and seven of its last 10 games to slip into eighth place in the East with three contests to play. The Cavaliers are one game back of seventh place Philadelphia and more importantly just one contest ahead of playoff hopeful New Jersey. Cleveland loses a head- to-head tiebreaker with either team.
The Cavs' recent woes continued on Friday night as they fell 119-111 to the Washington Wizards at the MCI Center. LeBron James poured in 38 points to lead the Cavaliers in the defeat.
Robert Traylor scored 14 points with 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, while Drew Gooden ended with 13 points. Sasha Pavlovic tacked on 11 points off the bench. Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was limited to just eight points in 19 minutes due to foul trouble.
Cleveland shot 44.7 percent from the field, including 2-of-14 (.143) from three-point range. The Cavs hit 25-of-34 (.735) from the free throw line and limited their turnovers to just eight in the contest.
The Cavs, who are closing out a two-game road trip tonight, are only 12-27 in foreign buildings this season. Cleveland has lost four of five and 15 of its last 17 road games.
Detroit has been on top of its game as of late despite having little to prove at this point. The Pistons have been locked in the second seed for some time now, leaving these final handful of games as playoff tune-ups.
Detroit has won a season best nine straight and 10 of 11 overall, including a 99-73 thumping of the Milwaukee Bucks at the Palace on Friday night. Ronald Dupree scored a career-high 20 points and Tayshaun Prince added 17 in the winning effort.
Ben Wallace contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit, while Antonio McDyess finished with 13 points and seven boards in the win. The Pistons' bench played heavy minutes in the contest, as head coach Larry Brown chose to rest his starters for a good bit of the game.
The Pistons finished with 50 percent shooting, including 3-of-8 (.375) from three-point range. Detroit nailed 18-of-24 (.750) from the free throw line and outrebounded the Bucks, 43-38, in the contest.
Detroit has been quite good at home this season, recording an impressive 31-9 mark at the Palace. The Pistons have won five straight and 18 of their last 20 home games.
Cleveland has won two of three meetings between these teams this season, but both wins came at Gund Arena. Detroit recorded an 81-69 thumping of the Cavs at the Palace in December. The Pistons have won 10 of the last 14 meetings in the set and 10 of the last 12 at the Palace.
04/17 10:09:22 ET