The Detroit Pistons put up a good fight against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, keeping Game 3 close for much of the evening. This was the first game in The Palace of Auburn Hills after Cleveland won Game 1 and Game 2 at home, and Detroit stayed competitive through four quarters.
However, the Cavaliers managed to escape with the win, 101-91. Cleveland now leads the first-round series 3-0, becoming the first team in this postseason to win the first three games of a series.
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love each scored 20 points in the victory. Irving was Cleveland’s leading scorer, finishing with 26 points on 11-20 shooting from the field (including 3-6 from three-point range). James filled the stat sheet, chipping in 20 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and a block. Love put up 20 points on a very efficient 7-10 from the field) as well as 12 rebounds.
J.R. Smith (nine points, nine rebounds and three assists) and Matthew Dellavedova (12 points on 4-5 shooting from the field and five assists) also contributed in a big way to Cleveland’s win. The Cavs shot 48.8 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from three-point range (compared to Detroit’s 48.6 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range).
The Pistons played well due to their balanced scoring attack, as all five of their starters finished the game in double-figures: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (18), Andre Drummond (17), Marcus Morris (16), Reggie Jackson (13), Tobias Harris (13). In addition to 13 points, Jackson also contributed 12 assists.
Stanley Johnson, who made headlines by calling out James after Game 2, had nine points on 3-4 shooting from the field. The Pistons did hold James to 8-24 shooting from the field (including 1-6 on threes) and forced LeBron to turn the ball over five times tonight.
Now, the Pistons face elimination in Game 4. While they deserve credit for giving the Cavaliers a tough fight in each game, it’s hard to imagine them extending this series much longer given the hole they currently find themselves in. Considering Cleveland is the top seed in the East and many people are expecting them to walk to the Conference Finals, this young Pistons squad deserves credit for battling the star-studded, 57-win Cavs.
Game 4 of this series will also be in Detroit, and it tips off Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on TNT.
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