Pistons at Cavaliers Game Preview - December 23, 2013
The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing their best basketball at home, while the Detroit Pistons have been red-hot on the road over the past month.
The Cavaliers, winners of five of their last six at Quicken Loans Arena, will try to snap a six-game losing streak against Detroit when they host the Pistons on Monday night.
The Cavs (10-16) have been far better at home compared to the road, losing only once in Cleveland in December - a 119-116 defeat against Portland on Tuesday.
Over their six home games this month, the Cavaliers have averaged 103.7 points. They've been scoring at a pretty healthy clip since Dec. 10, putting up at least 107 in five straight overall prior to a 100-84 loss at Chicago on Saturday.
That defeat was more emblematic of their scoring on the road, where they average 92.2.
Cleveland has reached the century mark in three straight home games after doing it only once in its first nine - and that 127-125 win over Philadelphia went to two overtimes.
Kyrie Irving has led the way during the recent home stretch, averaging 27.2 points and 7.2 assists over his past six in Cleveland. He's scoring a team-high 21.5 points per game overall this season.
Cleveland fell off its recent scoring pace against the Bulls, matching a season worst with a 22.2 percent performance from 3-point range (4 of 18).
"It's part of our growth as a young team," Irving said. "We have not had success (on the road) yet, we just have to learn how to win there."
Detroit (13-16), which has won three straight in Cleveland, has been trending in the opposite direction. While they've struggled to a 6-10 mark at home - dropping five of their last six - the Pistons have won six of their previous seven on the road.
Two of those victories were rather impressive. The Pistons won 107-97 at two-time defending champion Miami on Dec. 3 and also handed the Indiana Pacers their first home loss after an 11-0 start with a 101-96 victory last Monday.
Detroit, however, enters this contest riding a two-game skid - with both losses coming in a back-to-back at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Following a 116-106 defeat against Charlotte on Friday, the Pistons shot 1 for 12 from long range and failed to reach 100 points for the first time in seven games with a 114-97 loss to Houston the next night.
Josh Smith scored 19 points for Detroit, which allowed 62 points in the paint - including a season-high 35 for Dwight Howard.
Playing in the weak Eastern Conference has certainly helped the Pistons despite their inconsistent play. Detroit remains in second place in the Central Division, though it trails the Pacers by 9 1/2 games.
"We are still trying to get better, night in and night out," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "As I said to our players, there will be some nights when we will have good nights; there will be some nights when we have bad nights. We have to regroup, take our time and get ready for Cleveland."