CLEVELAND -- Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wanted his young team to embrace their playoff moment on Sunday. That's exactly what they did for most of the game -- but they couldn't sustain their hot early shooting down the stretch, dropping Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals 106-101 to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs lead the series 1-0.
The problem for Van Gundy's team is that it just couldn't make enough down the stretch to keep up with the Cavs' three-headed monster of LeBron James, Kevin Love (28 points, 13 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving. The trio combined for 81 points, 24 rebounds and 18 assists.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Pistons with 21 points. Marcus Morris chipped in with 20 points, but he scored just one in the second half. The Pistons were 10-for-16 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished 15-for-29 for the game.
The good news for the Pistons is that they showed no fear against the Eastern Conference's top-ranked team. The bad news is that it's hard to imagine a scenario later in this series in which they'll be able to shoot that well from the field again. Andre Drummond finished the game with a nice stat line -- 13 points and 11 rebounds -- but he was a non-factor in the first half with just two points. Part of that is due to his team's hot shooting from the perimeter, but he's going to have to set an earlier tone in Game 2 and try to take some pressure off his teammates.
The Pistons will wonder what might have been after taking a seven-point lead early in the fourth, but this experience for the group should help them become even more confident about their chances heading into the next game on Wednesday night.