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Game 1 Review
In a hard fought Game 1, the Cavaliers and Pistons came out to play as playoff intensity was definitely felt as these two teams went at it. After shooting a combined 15 three pointers as a team and keeping the game close the entire time, it came down to composure for the Pistons as they were not physically and mentally able to defeat a well-balanced attack orchestrated by the Cavaliers. Cleveland dished out 25 team assists with a contrast of merely five turnovers. Combine that with 80 points collectively scored between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, makes them almost impossible to beat playing at that level. Detroit however, stayed in the game through timely shooting and offensive execution by Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The main factor that hurt Detroit was Jackson losing his composure late in the 4th quarter after receiving a technical foul with only three minutes to play in an extremely tight game. To make matters worse, Jackson had no remorse for his actions on the floor that possibly cost his team a huge Game 1 win. Attitude reflects leadership and as the coach and GM, look for Stan Van Gundy to question who’ the leader of this young and extremely talented Pistons team is in the future, not just this series.
Keys to the game
Look for Cleveland to move the ball around as their outside shooting has been phenomenal hitting at least 10 three pointers or more in their last 19 of 21 games. With Love and Irving hitting on all cylinders from the outside, this will definitely open up the lane for the powerful James to get to the rim and earn multiple appearances at the free throw line. On the side of Detroit, they must play the same style of game by remaining physical, but keeping their composure. If the Pistons don’t want to go home down 0-2, Jackson must knock-off his childish demeanor and be more of a leader since he’s the only main player that has playoff experience.
The X-Factor for the Cavaliers is J.R. Smith. Smith needs to get going in this series to open up more lanes for his teammates. Cleveland shouldn’t expect Love to shoot lights out like he did in Game 1 so it is imperative for Smith to take the pressure off of his teammates. The X-Factor for the Pistons is Andre Drummond. Drummond will not necessarily need to improve his stats, but become more physical with a smaller Love in the post and rough him up. Love is not the physical type so this might ruffle his feathers. You get six fouls, use at least five of them!
Prediction: Cleveland 104 – Detroit 90