The Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers square off on Wednesday night in an Eastern Conference showdown between two teams already out of playoff contention. Well, we can put the Pistons to bed, but maybe the Cavaliers squeak into the postseason and get blown out in the first round? It doesn’t take a whole lot to make the playoffs in the NBA. Teams with records under the .500 mark are going to the playoffs.
Last season there were three teams that went to the playoffs and had a record below .500, including two in the Eastern Conference. The Orlando Magic got in with a record of 33-40. A team seven games below even shouldn’t be going to the playoffs, but the bottom half of the league isn’t very good compared to the elite company.
The Pistons have a problem on their hands, and it was because of an attempt to bring a superstar to the Motor City. I think owner Tom Gores probably had a hand in the deal that brought Blake Griffin to the Pistons. On the surface, it might have looked good, because the Pistons were desperately looking to bring on somebody that would bring attention to the team.
However, Griffin is not cheap, and there were other holes to address on the Pistons. Griffin isn’t the type of player to be able to carry a team alone. He will need help from another superstar, but the Pistons have been unable to locate a running mate for Griffin. I will say that Jemari Grant has been terrific, and the forward has to be in consideration for the Most Improved Player award.
That said, Grant is not a superstar, and Griffin needs more help to make a serious difference. Mind you, the money Griffin is being paid, he’s expected to carry the Pistons. That’s exactly the problem I had with the trade. His contract is far too rich when it was obvious he wasn’t going to be an instant fix in Detroit. He would have put some teams over the top, but not the Pistons.
They head into Cleveland on Wednesday with a record of 4-13 following a 119-104 win against the Philadelphia 76ers. What an impressive effort that was from the Pistons, though much of it is probably because the 76ers didn’t bring their best effort. In any event, the Pistons were able to take advantage and chased in to stop a three-game losing streak.
The Cavaliers have been up and down, as they hit the court with a record of 8-9 going into tonight. They’re coming off a hard-fought 115-108 loss at home on Monday. There’s some good, young talent on the Cavaliers, look no further than Collin Sexton. However, they are raw right now and need a bit more time before anyone is taking the Cavaliers seriously. Head below for our free Pistons vs. Cavaliers pick on January 27, 2021.
Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Betting Odds:
Pistons vs. Cavaliers Prediction:
The Pistons looked the best they have this season against the 76ers. Even in the first game, the Pistons looked good in a 114-110 defeat. Delon Wright scored 28 points in the win, while Jemari Grant had another productive outing with 25 points and 8 rebounds. It was a rare moment where the 4-13 Pistons could celebrate a little bit.
They played hard in the previous meeting, though had a 114-110 loss to show for it. The Pistons were able to be rewarded for their hard work in the next game. After securing a big win against a quality team, the Pistons have to keep their composure versus an inferior opponent.
It would be very easy for the Pistons to relax too much after beating the 76ers. That’s what bad teams like to do. The Pistons are 21st in the NBA with 109.5 points scored per game. They have also conceded 113 points per game for 22nd in the league. This certainly isn’t the mid-2000’s Pistons’ defense with Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups.
That was one heck of a ferocious defense in Detroit. The Pistons didn’t give up an inch on the floor. While rules have changed, and that much of an aggressive nature wouldn’t work now, the defense has been terrible for around a decade now. Note that teams have a lot of success from the field versus Detroit, as opponents are hitting at a 47.9% clip, 27th defensively.
Blake will be unable for the Pistons on Wednesday, as he has been ruled out for rest. The Pistons play an underrated defense in the Cavs tonight. After getting embarrassed, 141-103, the defense found traction against the Lakers recently in a 115-108 loss. Despite getting wacked for 141 points, that was an outlier for Cleveland in 2020-21.
The Cavs are seventh in the league with 109.1 points against per game. It’s hard to fault that, but the offense needs to be more consistent. They’re 29th with 104.5 points scored per game. An average performance should be sufficient on Wednesday night, though. The Pistons are bad on the road, with 118.6 points conceded per game, which is the main reason why they’re looking at a record of 1-6 on the road.
The Pistons have gone 2-7 ATS in Cleveland in their last nine, and are 0-4 in their previous four meetings against the Cavaliers. After the win against the 76ers, expect the Pistons to come back to earth. The Cavaliers likely don’t pull away for a blowout win in this one, but a 5-10 point win looks reasonable.