The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing their best basketball at
home, while the Detroit Pistons have been red-hot on the road over
the past month.
The Cavaliers, winners of five of their last six at Quicken
Loans Arena, will try to snap a six-game losing streak against
Detroit when they host the Pistons on Monday night.
The Cavs (10-16) have been far better at home compared to the
road, losing only once in Cleveland in December – a 119-116 defeat
against Portland on Tuesday.
Over their six home games this month, the Cavaliers have
averaged 103.7 points. They’ve been scoring at a pretty healthy
clip since Dec. 10, putting up at least 107 in five straight
overall prior to a 100-84 loss at Chicago on Saturday.
That defeat was more emblematic of their scoring on the road,
where they average 92.2.
Cleveland has reached the century mark in three straight home
games after doing it only once in its first nine – and that 127-125
win over Philadelphia went to two overtimes.
Kyrie Irving has led the way during the recent home stretch,
averaging 27.2 points and 7.2 assists over his past six in
Cleveland. He’s scoring a team-high 21.5 points per game overall
Cleveland fell off its recent scoring pace against the Bulls,
matching a season worst with a 22.2 percent performance from
3-point range (4 of 18).
“It’s part of our growth as a young team,” Irving said. “We have
not had success (on the road) yet, we just have to learn how to win
Detroit (13-16), which has won three straight in Cleveland, has
been trending in the opposite direction. While they’ve struggled to
a 6-10 mark at home – dropping five of their last six – the Pistons
have won six of their previous seven on the road.
Two of those victories were rather impressive. The Pistons won
107-97 at two-time defending champion Miami on Dec. 3 and also
handed the Indiana Pacers their first home loss after an 11-0 start
with a 101-96 victory last Monday.
Detroit, however, enters this contest riding a two-game skid –
with both losses coming in a back-to-back at the Palace of Auburn
Following a 116-106 defeat against Charlotte on Friday, the
Pistons shot 1 for 12 from long range and failed to reach 100
points for the first time in seven games with a 114-97 loss to
Houston the next night.
Josh Smith scored 19 points for Detroit, which allowed 62 points
in the paint – including a season-high 35 for Dwight Howard.
Playing in the weak Eastern Conference has certainly helped the
Pistons despite their inconsistent play. Detroit remains in second
place in the Central Division, though it trails the Pacers by 9 1/2
“We are still trying to get better, night in and night out,”
coach Maurice Cheeks said. “As I said to our players, there will be
some nights when we will have good nights; there will be some
nights when we have bad nights. We have to regroup, take our time
and get ready for Cleveland.”