Cavaliers at Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are mired in an eight-game losing streak and shook things up in a big way by acquiring Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers. It is unknown whether or not Griffin will make his club debut in Tuesday’s home against the Cleveland Cavaliers but the Pistons will be counting on the five-time All-Star to help spring a turnaround.
Griffin, who is in the first season of a five-year, $171 million contract, is averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 33 games. Detroit shipped forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley, center Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick for Griffin, center Willie Reed and forward Brice Johnson. Meanwhile, Cleveland is seeking its first three-game winning streak since mid-December and had dropped 10 of 13 games before beating the Indiana Pacers on Friday and posting a 121-104 win over the Pistons on Sunday in the front end of the home-and-home set. “For the most part, throughout 48 minutes, this is one of the best games we’ve had obviously as of late,” forward LeBron James said after his team finished Sunday’s game with a decisive 26-9 run. “Every game is something to build on. I think this was another positive note to that.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (29-19): Point guard Isaiah Thomas has been a poor fit with Cleveland in his first 10 on-court appearances and he didn’t see any action in the fourth quarter on Sunday when his team was rolling over the Pistons. Thomas, of course, is still working on getting back into top shape after hip surgery that preceded being part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. “Just getting my legs back,” Thomas, who is averaging 15.3 points on 39.3 percent shooting, told reporters. “Getting my rhythm back. Like I continue to say, it’s going to take time, but that’s always positive to see flashes with me moving and cutting like I’m used to doing. So I’ll build on it, keep working, and it will come.”
ABOUT THE PISTONS (22-26): Detroit has been shopping Bradley, who has largely been a disappointment, and began discussing a deal with the Clippers for Griffin six days ago. The string of losses – the Pistons have lost 12 of their last 15 – certainly sped up the club to trade now as opposed to waiting closer to the Feb. 8 trading deadline and could be a sign fourth-year coach Stan Van Gundy knows he might not be invited back if the team misses the playoffs. Griffin immediately becomes the offensive focal point for a team that has struggled since losing point guard Reggie Jackson (ankle) in the game before the 3-12 slide began.
1. The Cavaliers won the past three meetings by an average of 25.7 points.
2. Third-year F Stanley Johnson, who is averaging 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds, will replace Harris in Detroit’s starting lineup.
3. Cleveland reserve SG Dwyane Wade is expected back after a two-game absence due to the death of longtime agent Henry Thomas.