Preview: Pistons-Cavaliers Game 2
CLEVELAND – The Detroit Pistons let an upset opportunity get away in the series opener and look to avoid a 0-2 hole when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in Wednesday's Game 2.
Eighth-seeded Detroit held a seven-point lead with 11 minutes remaining in Game 1 before top-seeded Cleveland rallied and stymied the Pistons.
Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson personifies the club's swagger and he doesn't see the missed opportunity as a devastating blow.
"We know this is Goliath. We welcome it. We like the challenge," Jackson told reporters after the 106-101 loss. "I think we played well, I don't think we played necessarily our best game. We'll figure it out. It's a 1-0 series. We for sure got another one on Wednesday - come back and be ready to come out swinging."
The Cleveland trio of point guard Kyrie Irving (playoff career-best 31 points), power forward Kevin Love (28 points, 13 rebounds) and small forward LeBron James (22 points, 11 assists) were all in stellar form in the opener.
"We have a number of guys on this team, veterans that prepared us for this moment," Love told reporters. "So kind of leading up to it, three or four weeks left in the season, we were approaching every game like we had to get into the flow of a playoff game and approach every game as a tough one for us."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Detroit, FSN Ohio (Cleveland)
About the Pistons:
Backup rookie forward Stanley Johnson was a solid contributor in the opener with nine points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes and coach Stan Van Gundy expressed his regret that he didn't play Johnson over Tobias Harris (nine points in 40 minutes) down the stretch. The first-round draft pick from Arizona averaged 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in the regular season but has impressed his teammates with his tenacious approach.
"Stanley Johnson is a complete dog. He doesn't fear no man," Jackson told reporters. "We all bleed, so there ain't no reason to worry anybody, and that's how he feels. He's going to come at you and attack you. It's a mindset that we all need to have, and it's one that we embrace with him on this team."
About the Cavaliers:
Irving (five) and Love (four) combined for nine of Cleveland's 12 3-pointers in the opener and James was ecstatic to see both players come through after injuries ended their postseasons early last season.
"For these two guys, they were just excited to get back to this moment," James told reporters. "These guys have been working hard - Kyrie on his knee, Kevin on his shoulder - just to get back to this moment. It was great to be out on the floor with them and for them to put together the performance that they did."
Outside of the trio, there wasn't much offense from the rest of the Cavaliers, as the other six who played combined for just 25 points.
1. Van Gundy was fined $25,000 by the NBA for saying during an in-game television interview that the officials give James all the calls.
2. Detroit SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points in Game 1 and made four of his team's 15 3-point baskets.
3. Cavaliers backup PG Mo Williams (knee) missed the opener and is doubtful for Game 2.
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