Pistons-Cavaliers Preview

MATT BEARDMORE (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

Kyrie Irving won't be able to help. Rookie guard Dion Waiters wishes he could, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.

Likely missing their top two scorers for a fourth consecutive game, the host Cavaliers will look to snap a four-game losing streak Saturday night when they face the Detroit Pistons for the second time in six days.

Out the last 10 games with a broken left index finger, Irving, who is scoring 22.9 points per game, isn't expected back for a couple of weeks.

Waiters, second on the Cavs (4-16) with 15.2 ppg, has missed the last three contests - starting with Monday's 89-79 loss at Detroit - with a sprained left ankle, and he's not likely to return until at least Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

"He wants to try to play tomorrow, I just don't see it after watching him walk," coach Byron Scott said after Friday's shootaround. "The other thing is, I've always believed when a player comes back, he has to have a full day or practice too. His first chance of doing that would be Monday."

That's bad news for a Cavs team that's averaging 79.0 points and shooting 34.8 percent since Waiters went down.

With the No. 4 overall pick back in Cleveland to receive treatment, the Cavs lost for the 14th time in 16 games on Friday, 91-73 to Minnesota.

There was no excuse for their season low-tying 30 field goals, but Scott found one for the season-low nine free throw attempts.

"(The officiating) was that bad. It really was. It was that bad," he said. "I mean I understand we're playing in Minnesota, but 35-9, we went to the basket just as much as they did. I think we had 38 attempts in the paint to their 34, we get nine free throws, I think that speaks for itself.''

So does the Pistons grabbing just five more rebounds than Chicago's Joakim Noah (23) in Friday's 108-104 loss.

"Energy. It's disappointing," coach Lawrence Frank told the Pistons' official website after his team gave up a 17-point second-quarter lead.

Even though Detroit (6-15) had 13 blocks on Monday when it held the lowly Cavs to a season-low 33.7 percent from the field, heading to Cleveland is no guarantee that the Pistons can get back into the win column.

They're 1-10 outside Auburn Hills this season.

The Cavs, meanwhile, are going for their first home win in four tries.

Cleveland center Anderson Varejao will try to start a new double-streak after his run ended at 10 on Friday when he scored four points with 14 rebounds. Varejao had also grabbed at least 15 boards in each of the previous 10 games, including 18 in Monday's loss.

Pistons center Greg Monroe had five rebounds Friday to extend his streak with that many boards to 112. Monroe had 14 rebounds and rookie Andre Drummond pulled down 12 on Monday to help Detroit win its third straight in this Central Division matchup.