LeBron James.

3 reasons why Pistons-Cavaliers has major Eastern Conference playoff implications

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The 2017-18 NBA season is still young, but that doesn't mean there aren't some big-time matchups going on already.

In fact, one of the biggest games in the Eastern Conference will take place in Detroit on Monday night, where the Pistons will host the improving Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Pistons are one of the biggest surprises of the season so far, while the Cavs have struggled to get it together - though they are on a four-game winning streak right now.

After a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, Cleveland star LeBron James said the Cavs are trying to ignore the talk about whether they are washed up or not, according to

"Listen, man, at the end of the day we've got to show up as professionals and be the best we can be every night," James said. "Me, you know, I could care less what people say. I'm so far beyond that. I don't care what people say. At the end of the day, we've got to show up and be as great as we can be for this team right now. We're playing good ball, and we're going to continue that."

The Cavs will have a chance to do just that on Monday night against an equally hot Pistons team. Here are three reasons why Monday's game is the most important one for both squads so far this year:

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons

The Pistons need to prove they can hang with the best

The Pistons are having a fantastic season so far, with two wins over the improved Minnesota Timberwolves and a win on the road against the Golden State Warriors.

However, against a team they'll play four times this regular season, the Pistons need a solid performance on Monday night. If the Cavs come into Detroit and win convincingly, that's the kind of defeat that can linger with an unproven team like the Pistons.

Even if the Pistons can't pull off a win on Monday night, they need to make sure they're in the game until the final buzzer sounds.

Los Angeles Clippers v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers need to continue digging out of an early hole

The Cavaliers started out 3-1, but then the cracks started to show. Chemistry issues and a lack of a second scoring threat behind LeBron hurt the team as they fell to 5-7 at one point.

Now, the Cavs are on a four-game winning streak, but that has come against teams that aren't exactly juggernauts.

The Pistons have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA so far this year, so the Cavs need to prove they can pick up a big win over a strong Detroit squad on Monday night.

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons

The Pistons need to prove they can defend their home court

The Pistons are an impressive 7-1 at home this year, but they haven't yet faced a team like the Cavaliers in Detroit.

Though Detroit's new arena hasn't drawn many fans yet this year, if the crowd isn't huge for a game against the Cavs, that could be a real problem come playoff time.

Whether it's a packed house or whether there are tickets to be had, though, is irrelevant. Yes, a raucous crowd would be nice for the Pistons, but they need to prove they can take care of business against the reigning Eastern Conference champions in their own building.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Detroit Pistons
NBA Playoffs

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