Detroit faces the Cleveland Cavaliers again Tuesday after suffering its eighth straight loss in a setback Sunday to LeBron James and Co., but the Pistons have renewed vigor.
Detroit acquired five-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, center Willie Reed and forward Brice Johnson from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for guard Avery Bradley, forward Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanovic, a future protected first-round draft choice and a future second-round draft choice on Monday.
Griffin is expected to join the Pistons for Tuesday’s game against Cleveland (29-19).
“We are serious about winning, and this is a major move to improve our team,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores in a press release announcing the trade late Monday. “Blake Griffin is one of the NBA’s elite players, and when you get an opportunity to add that kind of talent, you take it.
“He is a great fit for our team and will bring a combination of toughness and athleticism that will elevate our team and excite our fans.”
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Griffin will “help us offensively and his size gives us another rebounder and weapon in the paint.”
Griffin, 28, has appeared in 33 games this season for Los Angeles (all starts) averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in 34.5 minutes per game.
The slumping Pistons (22-26) got thumped by the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, then had to play the refocused Cavaliers in a home-and-home set.
Detroit hung tough for 3 1/2 quarters at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday before the defending Eastern Conference champions pulled away to a 121-104 victory. That extended the Pistons’ slide to eight games with the rematch looming on Tuesday night at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.
The game was tied at 95-all with 7 1/2 minutes remaining. A Kyle Korver 3-pointer put Cleveland ahead to stay and the lead steadily increased.
Detroit’s starting point guard, Reggie Jackson, has been sidelined since late December with a Grade 3 ankle sprain. They have used four forwards in the lineup. Griffin should alleviate that concern.
Following a stretch in which it lost six out of seven, Cleveland is doing a better job of playing to its talent level. In Sunday’s win, James piled up 25 points, eight rebounds and 14 assists and Kevin Love had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“There were times when the ball got stuck and we were a little bit complacent,” Love said. “They got downhill in transition and just kind of laid the ball up a few possessions in a row, but it was a good thing we came to the huddle and just said to stick together, and we were able to have a run of our own. Winning is fun, so I guess you could say we’re having more fun, at least the last two games.”
Cleveland has now won its last three meetings against the Pistons. In those three matchups, the Cavaliers have outscored Detroit by an average of 25.7 points (121.7-96.0), while shooting 54.1 percent from the field and 51.0 percent from long distance.
Cavs reserve guard Dwyane Wade missed Sunday’s game for personal reasons but could rejoin the team on Tuesday.