The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled out of a 25-point hole on Sunday, only to run out of gas down the stretch and suffer their fourth straight loss. The Cavaliers will try to overcome injuries and internal squabbles and snap the slide when they host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
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Cleveland reportedly has its veterans on the trade block and one, power forward Kevin Love, has been visibly frustrated of late as the team battles through some growing pains with its young roster. The Cavaliers elected to rest Love and fellow veteran Tristan Thompson on Sunday for the second night of a back-to-back and instead gave a start to rookie guard Kevin Porter Jr., who left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter and left the arena on crutches. The Pistons are finally reaching the finale of a six-game road trip and are coming back from the West Coast after battling the Los Angeles Lakers hard before falling 106-99. "I'm excited about it," Detroit coach Dwane Casey told reporters of his team's effort on the second night of a back-to-back. "It was a step in the right direction. Hard play against the top team in the league. Everything's got to go right against the top team in the league and we played hard. We made just enough mistakes to allow them to get us."
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: FS Detroit, FS Ohio
ABOUT THE PISTONS (13-24): Detroit is playing shorthanded with forwards Blake Griffin (knee) and Marcus Morris (foot) and guards Luke Kennard (knee) and Reggie Jackson (back) dealing with injuries and leaned on point guard Derrick Rose on Sunday. The former MVP scored 28 points in 29 minutes off the bench against the Lakers after scoring 22 the previous night in a win at Golden State and was impressed with the effort of his teammates. "We played with urgency tonight," Rose told reporters after Sunday's setback. "We played as hard as we could. Certain plays, we wish we could take them back, but as far as the effort, I think we played as hard as we could."
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (10-26): Cleveland was down 90-65 with 16 minutes left on Sunday before Dante Exum caught fire and eventually gave the team a 97-96 lead with a 3-pointer. Exum, who was acquired from the Utah Jazz last month in the deal that sent Jordan Clarkson out of town, scored 24 of his career-high 28 points in the second half and went 11-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. "I want them to know I can shoot the ball," Exum told reporters. "I feel like coming into the NBA I wasn't known as a shooter and it's just something I've worked on every summer, before every practice, after every practice. It's just something I want to be respected for and it will open up my game when players respect me for my shot."
1. Love is expected to play Tuesday while Thompson (illness) is day-to-day.
2. Pistons SG Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has scored in double figures in a career-best four straight games.
3. Detroit breezed to a 127-94 win at Cleveland on Dec. 3.