Amico: Kyrie, D make Cavs win come easily
CLEVELAND -- Kevin Love called it "48 minutes of defense." LeBron James called it the Cavaliers' best game of the season.
And the Cavs as a whole said not tonight, Detroit Pistons. Not in our house, not with LeBron back, not when we're coming off a loss.
That's pretty much the story behind the Cavs' 104-81 drubbing of Detroit on Friday, when everything Kyrie Irving did turned to basketball gold.
The defense did the rest -- with the Cavs (10-2) suffocating the opponent into a miserable 31 percent shooting.
"We forced them into a lot of tough shots," Love said. "Any team is better when you do that."
Right now, the defending champions are pretty doggone good -- as a team, as individuals, as everything.
Irving has exemplified this all season, but he was never as remarkable as Friday. He finished with 25 points on a scorching 11-of-15 shooting, with 11 assists, and zero turnovers in 28 minutes.
This is a point guard who had total control of the game, and may soon be in those season-long conversations about league MVP.
"The kid was making all the right passes, all the right plays," James said. "(He was) just running the game."
Irving added he was just doing his job, trying to make sure everyone got to touch the ball early.
"I feel like I'm able to attack anytime – whether it's to get a basket or to get other guys involved," he said.
James added 21 points, returning after a game off to rest. Love went for 12 points and 13 boards, and J.R. Smith came back from a sprained ankle to score nine. Tristan Thompson pulled down 14 rebounds and swatted four shots.
But again, this was mostly about the Cavs' insistence on receiving an A-plus in D.
Did you know no Pistons starter reached double figures in scoring? In fact, only All-Star center Andre Drummond (eight points, 10 boards) even put together a so-so outing.
Instead, it was old friend Jon Leuer who tried to save Detroit, coming off the bench and scoring a team-high 15 points. Yes, the team high was 15, and no one else hit 10.
Interestingly, the Cavs didn't really get buzzing until coach Tyronn Lue called a timeout less than two minutes into the game. He chewed out the Cavs so badly, he could only smile and describe what he had to say this way: "Beep, beep, beep, beep."
That's a direct quote, and the eventual result was a direct route.
Now, the Cavs get a nice stretch of no travel and no games until Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving.
And with the way they continue to play, especially on defense, it's everyone else that had better be worried about looking like a big turkey.