After their disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, the thought from the coaching staff and team is that the Cavaliers would be much better against the depleted Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
Detroit(18-40) has the worst record in the Eastern Conference and was without seven players, including their leading scorer Jerami Grant and their top rebounder in Mason Plumlee. However, none of that mattered on Monday night, especially in the first quarter. Detroit led by as much as 23 points in that quarter, and while the Cavs(20-37) would take their first lead midway through the fourth, Detroit was able to take control down the stretch and win 109-105 at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit’s Saddiq Bey and Frank Jackson had 20 points apiece. Bey had 18 points in the first quarter, including six threes. Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 28 points, and Darius Garland added 23.
Cleveland, who has lost three straight, outscored Detroit in every quarter after their bad start. However, according to Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland was done in by the first quarter.
“It was the first quarter that did us in,” Bickerstaff said. “To me, all that other stuff that happens afterward is irrelevant.”
The team’s approach to the game let Bickerstaff down, and according to him, it shows that the team has to grow up.
“It’s a conversation about our approach and a maturity level that we’ve yet reach,” he said. “And the thought that we wouldn’t come out tonight and play spirited basketball is disappointing…
“I love the dudes in that locker room. I think their heart and minds are in the right place, but we gotta grow up, and it’s that simple.”
Considering what was at stake regarding the playoffs, Monday night’s performance was unacceptable. However, it’s all a part of the process. Hopefully, these young guys can use this moment as a learning experience for the rest of this season and beyond.
Cleveland is now four games behind the Bulls for the 10th and final playoff spot with 15 games remaining. Cleveland will host the Bulls on Wednesday night.