Cleveland Cavaliers go for third straight win against the short-handed Pistons

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04: Blake Griffin
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04: Blake Griffin /

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a chance to play against PF Blake Griffin when they host the Detroit Pistons on March 5th.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will go for their third straight win Tuesday night in Detroit against the Pistons.

Cleveland has struggled in the month of January (5-7 overall record), but they have managed to pull together two straight wins for the first time since mid-December.

The Pistons will look much different than the team the Cavs defeated just two days ago, 121-104. Detroit overhauled their roster on Monday trading for five-time all-star Blake Griffin.

The Pistons’ underwhelming 22-26 record while nursing an eight-game losing streak most likely prompted head coach and team president Stan Van Gundy to swing for the fences on a superstar.

Detroit currently sits ninth in the eastern conference playoff standings and needs a boost if they’re going to catch the Philadelphia 76ers for the last playoff spot. Griffin is averaging a solid 22.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He also is averaging a career-high 5.4 assists after becoming the primary playmaker in Los Angeles, following the departure of point guard Chris Paul this offseason.

Due to the logistics and timing of the trade, Griffin, Johnson and Reed will not play Tuesday night according to The Detroit News‘ Rod Beard.

That is music to the Cavaliers’ ears as they try to break out of a funk of their own. The Cavs are 2-0 since moving Tristan Thompson back into the starting lineup. They are averaging 118 ppg while giving up only 106 ppg over that stretch.

Cleveland will also be getting back the services of shooting guard Dwayne Wade. He missed they last two games due to the death of his close friend.

The Pistons aren’t the only ones looking to make a trade. The Cavaliers have been in many rumors over the last few weeks due to the team’s poor play and roster construction. It has also been reported by Ken Berger of bleacher report that Dan Gilbert is running the show in the front office, not Koby Altman.

"“LeBron just looks at everybody as a shill for Dan,” the league source said.…“The word is out that Dan is running things,” a rival executive told B/R. “Frankly, that’s where he’s happiest and the role he’s most comfortable in.”"

That brings an interesting dynamic to the looming February 9th trade deadline. Gilbert highly covets the Brooklyn Nets pick the Cavs received from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Kyrie Irving last summer.

Will Gilbert keep the pick because LeBron James won’t commit to the Cavs one way or the other or will he trade the pick attempting to put the best team possible around LeBron right now? The direction he chooses will make itself very clear in the coming weeks.

The Cavaliers need to string together some victories so the front office can properly evaluate the roster. They need to figure out what players are just in a funk and what players really need to go.

That also gives the league some time to play itself out. Season-ending injuries to C DeMarcus Cousins and G Andre Roberson have changed trade deadline plans for certain teams.

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It will be in the Cavs best interest to wait as long as they can to properly evaluate the market rather than jump the gun on a deal right now.