5 Quick Takes: Lue rides hot hands as Cavs top Pistons

Channing Frye had another effective performance in the Cavs' 121-104 win over the Pistons on Sunday night.

Five quick takes on the Cavaliers’ 121-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night at Quicken Loans Arena…

1. Thanks, they needed that. After what felt like a claustrophobic month… OK, check that, it was a claustrophobic month, this one was a breath of fresh air. The victory makes it two in a row for the Cavaliers, their first two-game winning streak in 42 days! Before the last two wins, the Cavaliers (29-19) had lost six of seven games.

2. Cleveland entered the game as the worst-ranked defensive team in the NBA and it played to form through almost three quarters, trailing, 85-79. Then, spurred by his best stretch as a Cavalier by Isaiah Thomas (14 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists in the game), the Cavs finished the third on an 11-2 run to take a 90-87 lead into the fourth quarter. Thomas had a season-high seven assists through three quarters.

3. At that point, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue changed course, going with LeBron James at the point and surrounding him with four shooters/slashers — Channing Frye, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Jae Crowder.

It produced the expected result, offensively — the Cavs scored 31 points. More importantly, though, and more surprisingly, it produced an unexpected result, defensively — Cleveland limited Detroit to but 17 points in the final 12 minutes, the Cavs’ second-best defensive fourth quarter on the season.

Detroit was 10-of-21 from 3 in the first half, but 4-of-15, including 1-of-5 in the fourth quarter, in the second half as the five guys they started the fourth quarter continuously with ran Piston off Piston off the 3-point line. It effectively shut down the Pistons, who will lug an eight-game skid into a rematch with the Cavs on Tuesday night in Detroit, with their 3-point game taken away. Cleveland limited Detroit to 29-percent shooting in the final 12 minutes.

4. How good was that group? With 5:26 to go, Frye scored on a nifty up-and-under, wraparound right-handed layup off a no-look pass by James (25 points, 8 boards, 14 dimes in the game, 9 points and 5 assists in the fourth quarter, alone) that gave Cleveland a 102-97 lead and forced Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to call timeout.

At that point, Kevin Love — who had piled up 20 points and nine rebounds through three quarters — was at the table, ready to check in for Frye. Seeing the way the Cavaliers were playing, Lue opted to ride Frye down the stretch — and his decision worked to perfection.

Frye, who had seven points, seven boards, two assists and a steal in 21 impressive minutes. His putback dunk in the first half produced the biggest feel-good moment of the night.

The best stat of the year for the Cavaliers went up another click in this one — when Frye plays 11 minutes or more, Cleveland is 18-1, having won 18 in a row. When he plays less than 11 minutes, the Cavaliers are 11-18.

5. The Ghost of J.R. Smith came back to life for a second-straight game. Coming off a season-high 23-point effort in a win against visiting Indiana on Friday night, Smith had 15 points, on a 4-of-7 shooting effort, all from 3, and added four rebounds in 29 productive minutes.

2 Comments on "5 Quick Takes: Lue rides hot hands as Cavs top Pistons"

  1. Did you really call Green and Crowder shooters?

  2. If the cavaliers acquire george Hill and include channing frye in the exchange they will only have jeff green as a reserve that is a legitimate front court player, as zizic is not legitimate in performance only size. Are the cavaliers planning on using one of lue’s infamous four-guard or five guard combinations? No nba team should have such depletion of a front court as the cavaliers, which will get exploited continuously until corrected. Thompson and smith actually played well recently against the pacers and pistons. It was nice to see the starting lineup revamped to where it was more conventional in size as opposed to love and crowder way too small for thewir respective positions. Also the second unit looked as it should notwithstansing the absence of wade, with frye and crowder added to players green, and korver. However if frye leaves the kiddie core pony lineup a staple of lue’s jockey sized madness that he is the only nba coach to ascribe to size mismatches.

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