WHO HAS THE EDGE?
PG– Kyrie Irving 19.6ppg-4.7apg-3rpg-88.5%ft-32%(3fg)- vs Reggie Jackson 18.8ppg-6.2apg-3.2rpg-86%ft-35.3%(3fg)
EDGE: Cavs – In the 2 games Irving played against Detroit this season he averaged 29 points per game. Jackson played well, but as bad as Kyrie is on offense, he should be able to outscore Jackson.
SG– J.R. Smith 12.4ppg-40%(3fg)-63.4%ft vs Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 14.5ppg-31%(3fg)-81%ft
EDGE: Cavs – If the under control, hot shooting, effort giving defensive player we’ve seen this season from J.R., then this could be a big advantage for Cleveland. If Smith can’t control his emotions (Boston series last year) and is ice cold from the outside (Golden State last year), then this position could come back to hurt the Cavs like it did in the NBA Finals last season.
SF– LeBron James 25.3ppg-7.4rpg-6.8apg-73%ft vs Tobias Harris 16.6ppg-6.2rpg-2.6apg-37.5%(3fg)-91%ft
EDGE: Cavs – Nobody, not even Steph Curry is playing as well as James is right now. He should again put up dominant numbers and take the young Harris to school, especially since he has officially shifted into “Zero Dark Thirty – 23” mode.
PF– Kevin Love 16ppg-9.9rpg-36%(3fg) vs Marcus Morris 14.1ppg-5.1rpg-36%(3fg)
EDGE: Cavs(slightly) – I almost went “EVEN” here. I am not sold on Love yet in the playoffs. He’s been so inconsistent this season and only played in 3-plus games last year in the postseason before getting injured. Having said that it will be a MAJOR disappointment if he doesn’t outplay Morris in this series and become more consistent as the playoffs move along.
C– Tristan Thompson 7.8ppg-9.0rpg-61%ft vs Andre Drummond 16.2ppg-14.8rpg-36%ft
EDGE: Pistons – Drummond is one of, if not the best center in the league. His massive frame, strength and ability to play at both ends is the one undeniable edge the Pistons have in this series. It’s going to take both Thompson who will start, and Timofey Mozgov coming off the bench to try and keep Drummond in check. When in doubt with the “Big Fella”, foul him as he only makes 36%of his free throws. In one of the close games expect the Cavs to play “Hack-A-Drummond”.
Bench– Cavaliers: Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov, Channing Frye, James Jones and Richard Jefferson.
Pistons: Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson, Spencer Dinwiddie Aron Baynes and Joel Anthony.
EDGE: Cavs – Delly could be the wild card in this series. His experience from last year in the playoffs, the ability to play relentless defense and a team leading 41% shooting from beyond the arc make him the best bench player on both team. Also the defense of Shumpert, the 3-point shooting of Fyre and again Mozgov’s help off the bench give the Cavs the edge.
Head Coach– Tyronn Lue (0-0) in Playoffs vs Stan Van Gundy (48-39) in Playoffs
EDGE: Pistons – Van Gundy’s Magic upset LeBron and the #1 seeded Cavs in 2009 in the Eastern Conference Finals 4 games to 2 with Dwight Howard in the middle on offense and defense and 3-point shooters everywhere else. Expect a similar game plan with Drummond in the paint and plenty of players launching 3’s. Now granted the talent on this Pistons roster doesn’t come close to equaling the Magic’s in 09, but Van Gundy will try and play it that way, or figure out another way if necessary, to try and make it a series.
Even with Drummond dominating the paint and Van Gundy’s postseason coaching experience, it won’t be enough for Detroit to pull off the #8 vs #1 upset, as LeBron will make sure that doesn’t happen and hopefully he’ll finally get the help he’s been waiting for from his two max player teammates in Irving and Love.
Cavs in 5 Games