Going into game two against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons Forward Marcus Morris said that the Pistons would try to 'maybe rough him up a little bit' in reference to Kevin Love.
The Pistons did just that on Wednesday night as they coaxed Love into a 5-14 shooting night. The forward battled foul trouble early and never seemed to establish the rhythm that he had in the opening game of the series.
None of this mattered for the Cavaliers, who have held serve on their home court with a 107-90 victory and look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead on Friday in Detroit. Also, Pistons rookie, Stanley Johnson thinks that he is, “in LeBron’s head” as of this point in the series.
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In light of these statements, James addressed the notion of Detroit’s physicality, saying: “I think the playoffs are always physical. I knew they were going to make some adjustments and we also had to make our adjustments. They got to the free-throw line a lot. They were aggressive, but we were also aggressive.”
Attempting 38 three-point shots and tying an NBA record by making 20 is an aggressive approach. J.R. Smith certainly wouldn’t disagree with this, as he made a staggering 7 of 11 three-pointers at the Quicken Loans Arena.
On his performance, Smith said: “I was open, so I shot the ball. It’s kind of simple for me. I have some great teammates that are willing to make the open pass and I was just one of the guys in that situation to make them.”
Sheer brute force is not going to get it done against a Cavaliers team that is clicking in its current fashion. The Cavs have demonstrated during the two games that they can win in different ways.
James said that he was focused on their goal of making a deep postseason run and that he wouldn’t let himself get weighed down in the extra-curricular physicality that the Pistons are trying to bring to the table.
With all the added jostling in the paint, Love is still averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds for the series. The other key contributors for the series leaders like Kyrie Irving, James, and Smith have had real offensive success against Detroit so far.
The Cavs will still have to take care of business on Friday in the Motor City but, if they can keep up their hot shooting ways then added physicality will be the least of their worries.