With Cleveland missing three big men - All-Star Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Jeff Green - due to injury, Larry Nance Jr. stepped up with a double-double. Both were career-high totals for Nance, who spent most of his 31 minutes of court time knocking heads with 6-11, 280-pound Andre Drummond, Detroit's two-time All-Star center.
But unfortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it wouldn't matter in their game against the Denver Nuggets. Nance, acquired in a trade from the Lakers on February 8, is averaging 10.0 points and 6.6 boards since joining Cleveland.
Lue could use rookie Ante Zizic, who has played sparingly for Cleveland, which acquired him as part of the summer trade with Boston for Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers scored eight of the last 10 points in the quarter.
Nance's stat line in his first start with Cleveland also bested his father's 17 points and 11 rebounds in his first start for the Cavs on February 29, 1988. Hood finished with 13 points on the night.
At some point the Cavaliers defense has to get better, right?
Milwaukee, who dropped to eighth in the east, had a chance to tie the game but Giannis Antetokounmpo's three-point attempt from the wing hit the front of the rim as time expired.
George Hill has been a major upgrade at the point guard position for the Cleveland Cavaliers and his top-notch backcourt defense is already proving to make an impact on a team that craved defenders so much, but he's not the go-to-guy for this team's future at the point.
By the Numbers - 23.5 ... average margin of victory by the Cavaliers over the Pistons in their last four meetings at The Q. Over the course of that four-game run, the Wine & Gold have shot.517 from the floor and.463 from beyond the arc; holding Detroit to.374 and.333, respectively.
Nance and James combined to score the Cavs' first 20 points - Nance had 11 and seven rebounds in the first 8 1/2 minutes - but the rest of Cleveland's players started 0-for-9 from the field as Detroit took a 28-26 lead after the opening period. I'm getting better. I just got to continue to build on it."Two other fun Nance bits.One, he calls his dad - the former Cav great Larry Nance Sr. - before and after every game".
Up Next - Following their five-game homestand, the Wine & Gold get back on the road - embarking on a six-game, 12-day trip beginning with a rematch against the Nuggets on Wednesday night in the Mile High City.