Big Ben Has Field Day Against Soft Cavs
In a reminder of just how far they still have to go, the Cavaliers were drubbed from wire to wire by the Pistons before a sellout crowd at the Palace in Auburn Hills Sunday afternoon.
Detroit never trailed, and never saw their lead drop below double digits in the second half. The Pistons blocked nine shots, and forced the Cavs into twenty turnovers. The game was not near as close as the 90-78 final score indicated, and it appeared the Pistons were toying with the Cavs at times.
The opening minutes served as cruel foreshadowing, as Zydrunas Ilgauskas was hit with a flagrant elbow from Pistons bad boy Rasheed Wallace. Blood started gushing from the wound, and Z had to be taken to the locker room for five stitches. He would return in the 2nd quarter, and catch an open hand to the face from Rip Hamilton a couple minutes later. The Cavs failed to retaliate in any way, and continued to get pushed around all game by the clearly stronger and tougher Pistons.
Ben Wallace was DOMINANT for the Pistons. He wreaked havoc on both ends of the court all afternoon, and was a force all game in the middle of the vaunted Piston defense. Big Ben finished with 11 points, 19 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 5 blocks. Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton also had their way with the Cavs perimeter defenders, combining for 39 points, 15 assists, and just 3 turnovers.
Offensively for the Cavs, Lebron James had 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. And new addition Flip Murray went for 17 on 7-13 shooting in 36 minutes. Murray has been impressive in his first two games for the Cavs, showing an ability to put the ball in the basket a number of different ways. The days of Sasha Pavlovic as a starting shooting guard are thankfully quickly coming to an end.
The loss dropped the Cavaliers to 32-24, and 1-3 since the break. They are just 2 games up on Washington and 2.5 games up on Indiana for the #4 seed in the East, and are 14 ½ games behind the Pistons in the Central division. The two teams meet again tonight at The Q at 7:00 in what is a very crucial game for the Cavaliers.