Mon, 06 Feb 2023

Cavaliers, Pistons meet while facing injury woes

Field Level Media
27 Nov 2022, 11:05 GMT+10

The Cleveland Cavaliers' four-game winning streak ended in Milwaukee on Friday at the start of a three-game road trip.

They'll try to build a new one when they visit the banged-up Pistons in Detroit on Sunday.

Cleveland led the Bucks by 11 points at halftime but fell apart in the third quarter, getting outscored 35-10.

"This is a great lesson for us," Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "We played against an established team who knows where they need to go when it's time to take it to another level. I think that's what we are learning. They are a championship-caliber team and we are learning how to get there."

Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland with 29 points and Darius Garland added 20, but the backcourt duo had as many turnovers (four) as assists. Cleveland recorded 12 assists while shooting 39.1 percent from the field.

"They turned up their pressure defensively. They turned it up to a level that we haven't seen, we haven't experienced. That's playoff basketball," Mitchell said. "Just understanding that they're going to turn up their physicality and everything has to be sharper, everything has to be more precise. Just understanding that's the level we have to get to and that's playoff basketball. ... We have things to learn and improve on but we're not in here pouting."

Losing center Jarrett Allen to a hip injury contributed to the second-half collapse. He took a hard fall in the first half and played briefly in the second before departing.

It remains to be seen if he'll need some time off.

"He's sore. He wasn't able to go. He gave it a try coming out but wasn't able to go," Bickerstaff said. "He fell early, landed on it. If Jarrett can go, he plays. It had to be pretty bad for him to not go."

The Cavaliers have already won in Detroit this month. They recorded a 112-88 victory on Nov. 4.

Mitchell and Garland sat out, but Allen picked up the slack, scoring 23 points.

Detroit played without four starters in Phoenix on Friday but hung tough before succumbing 108-102.

Star guard Cade Cunningham is out indefinitely with a shin injury. Saddiq Bey (ankle), Isaiah Stewart (toe) and Jaden Ivey (knee) were also sidelined, though Bey and Ivey might return on Sunday.

The team's other starter, Bojan Bogdanovic, suffered an ankle injury in the late going.

Yet the Suns couldn't put the game away until the final minute.

"We have to look at it from a positive standpoint," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. "We're out four starters and the guys that stepped in did their job. I'm proud of them for that."

Bogdanovic finished with 19 points and Killian Hayes flirted with a triple-double (17 points, nine assists, eight rebounds). Alec Burks added 17 points off the bench.

"It's disappointing because the guys played their hearts out," Casey said. "They competed at a high level. We had one point guard, basically. Eighteen turnovers, which broke our back. But I thought guys competed at a very high level, defensively, offensively with one of the best teams in the league."

--Field Level Media

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