CLEVELAND -- Seeing a Central Division opponent in the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers know very well what is in store for them in the best-of-seven series, which gets underway at Quicken Loans Arena this afternoon.
In playing the Pistons four times, the Cavaliers know Detroit loves to utilize the pick and roll, particularly when point guard Reggie Jackson and center Andre Drummond are on the floor.
“They run a high number of pick and rolls in the middle of the floor,” point guard Kyrie Irving said. “We’ve just got to be aware of what they’re doing. Just try to limit Reggie from getting downhill, making decisions and throwing lobs to Andre. We have a few things that we need to kind of address that we have in the last few days getting prepared for them, and if they hurt us, we have adjustments.”
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue added, “Most of the time, the fives are always in a drop position, and Reggie Jackson does a great job of attacking downhill, and if a big has to step up with Drummond getting behind, if a guard has to get back, he’s too small. If a big steps up, he throws a lob. Their duo is phenomenal, and they happen to do a good job of slowing that pick and roll down.”
Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love expects Drummond, who averaged 16.2 points, 14.8 rebound, 1.47 steals and 1.38 blocks per game during the regular season, to use his 6-foot-11, 279-pound frame in order to establish a dominant post presence.
“It’s huge for us,” Love said of controlling the paint. “Between him and Jackson, they’ve got a pretty good thing going, so we have to do our best to keep him off the boards and it’s going to be a team effort. We’re going to have to go deep into our lineup and go to different guys, different lineups in order to show some different stuff against them, whether we go big or small because he’s a load down there.
“They’ve got very good guys on this team, guys that have roles. Stan (Van Gundy) is going to have those guys ready. They’re going to play physical. I’m sure, at times, it’ll be chippy, but from what I’ve watched and after getting hurt last year, I know a playoff game is physical. They’re going to let some stuff go, so we expect them to be prepared.”
Although the Cavaliers know it will be a challenge to contain Drummond, they know it is critical to match the Pistons’ physicality on the defensive end.
“I think it’s been good,” Lue said of the Cavaliers’ recent defensive play. “I think we’ve been locked in as far as getting our foundation. I think our guys are more comfortable playing at a higher pace and faster because they don’t have to think as much, and I feel good about it.
“With this team, you have to be physical. They bring a physicality to the game. Reggie Jackson’s a big point guard, who attacks a lot. Drummond’s very physical and the best offensive rebounder in the league. At their three and four positions, they’re very physical, so the biggest thing for me is I want our team to come out and be physical on both ends.”