Photo: Duane Burleson/AP
In the holiday spirit, the Cavaliers took it easy on their former brethren, Pistons coach John Kuester and starting center Ben Wallace, who dealt with a shorthanded squad in tonight's matchup in the Palace. Cleveland led by as much as 19, but a fourth quarter push fueled by the Detroit backcourt and Cleveland's offensive stagnation cut the lead to just five in the final minutes. It took some LeBron heroics to seal things for the good guys as the Cavaliers won their sixth in a row in Detroit.
Not the Pistons you remember: Flashback to last year's playoff series and a starting lineup for the Pistons of Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess, and Rasheed Wallace. That's right, just one of them was in the starting lineup tonight. McDyess and Wallace have departed to San Antonio and Boston respectively, and Hamilton and Prince were both missing tonight due to injury. Speaking of injuries, Shaquille O'Neal was cleared by team doctors, but Mike Brown chose to hold him out for the sixth straight game with the hope that he can go Friday in Charlotte.
Catching up with old friends: There was a lot of turnover in Detroit this past offseason, and some of that affected the wine and gold. Cavalier offensive coordinator/guru John Kuester is now the Pistons head man, and reserve Cavalier power forward Ben Wallace is now starting Pistons center Ben Wallace in a Back to the Future role with the team where he won a title. It was interesting to see how Kuester's offense has carried over to the Pistons. Granted, he doesn't have anywhere close to his full arsenal right now, but the Pistons were able to get some pretty good shots in this game late. As for Big Ben, he chimed in to the tune of 8 points and 9 rebounds in almost 31 minutes. He even made 4-of-6 free throws, including back-to-back swishes. I was a fan of Wallace's work in his first tour of duty in Detroit, enjoyed his time here in Cleveland, and I still respect the guy who is starting at center in the NBA at age 35. I wish nothing but the best for two former Cavaliers... unless we're playing them of course and as long as we beat them out for the Central Division crown.