VIDEO: Cavaliers-Pistons: By the Numbers
HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — While the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have been making history out West, the Cleveland Cavaliers have put themselves in position to take on the winner of what should be a dogfight in the Western Conference finals.
Of course, the Cavs’ season hasn’t exactly gone by quietly. There was a coaching change (with a 30-11 record) in January and a bit of strife (whether real or manufactured) in and out of the locker room.
The Cavs did address their biggest area of need after last season. They jumped from 20th to 10th in defensive efficiency, though they did take a step backward on that end of the floor after Tyronn Lue took over for David Blatt.
Cleveland’s roster still has its flaws, but it also has the best talent in the East and an ability to flip the switch like no other team in the conference. The Cavs’ path back to The Finals begins with a series against the Detroit Pistons, who are making their first trip to the postseason since 2009, when they were swept out of the first round by LeBron James and the Cavs.
Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 1-8 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more.
Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)
Pace: 95.5 (28)
OffRtg: 108.1 (4)
DefRtg: 102.3 (10)
NetRtg: +5.8 (4)
- Starting lineup, with Tristan Thompson at center, scored 115.3 points per 100 possessions in 465 minutes together, the best OffRtg mark among lineups that played at least 200 minutes. That lineup had a NetRtg of plus-12.4 in 465 minutes, while the same lineup with Timofey Mozgov at center instead of Thompson had a NetRtg of minus-7.6 in 251 minutes.
- Saw a big jump in first-half OffRtg after the coaching change, scoring 114.4 points per 100 possessions before halftime under Lue after scoring just 103.8 under Blatt. At the same time, they saw a regression in second-half DefRtg, allowing 106.9 points per 100 possessions after halftime under Lue after allowing just 98.2 under Blatt.
- LeBron James averaged a career-high 14.0 points in the paint per game.
- James led the league with 154 shots with four seconds or less on the shot clock.
- Kevin Love led the league with 249 “wide-open” 3-point attempts.
- Matthew Dellavedova was one of six players to shoot better than 45 percent on at least 150 catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts.
Detroit Pistons (44-38)
Pace: 97.4 (20)
OffRtg: 103.3 (15)
DefRtg: 103.4 (13)
NetRtg: -0.2 (16)
- Ranked second in both offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage, and were the only team that ranked in the top five in both.
- Ranked 29th in both assist rate and passes per game.
- Original starting lineup was broken up at the trade deadline, but still played more minutes than any other lineup this season. Current starting lineup played 462 minutes after the trade deadline, three fewer than the most-used Cleveland lineup for the entire season.
- Players off the bench had an aggregate NetRtg of minus-3.4, the worst mark among playoff teams.
- Only 11.9 percent of opponent possessions were in transition, the lowest rate in the league. They allowed a league-low 10.4 fast break points per game.
- Opponents attempted only 341 corner 3-pointers, fewest in the league.
- Andre Drummond led the league with 5.3 second chance points per game.
- Reggie Jackson led the league with 626 shots after at least seven dribbles and was assisted on just 14.1 percent of his field goals, the lowest mark among anyone who played at least 25 games.
- The Pistons were one of two teams (Chicago was the other) that beat the Cavs three times this season.
- Both teams rested starters in the regular season finale in Cleveland on Wednesday. Kyrie Irving missed the first meeting and Tobias Harris was not with the Pistons in the first two.
- The Cavs were one of just three opponents against who Drummond grabbed less than 10 percent of available offensive rebounds. He averaged 4.9 offensive rebounds per game this season, but had just nine offensive boards in his 110 minutes vs. Cleveland.
- James’ scoring average of 20.7 points per game was his lowest mark against any Eastern Conference opponent. His effective field goal percentage of just 45.5 percent, was also his lowest mark against any Eastern Conference opponent.
- Cleveland was a plus-16 in 52 minutes with both James and Irving on the floor. Detroit was a plus-7 in 97 minutes with both Jackson and Drummond on the floor.