Non-LeBron Cavs face Pistons, want to create their own ‘legacy’ – Yahoo Sports

The surprising Cleveland Cavaliers entered the All-Star break 2 1/2 games from the top spot in the Eastern Conference despite losing their last two games.

After hosting the All-Star festivities over the weekend, Cleveland will get back to business when it visits Detroit on Thursday night.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James provided some material for the sports talk shows by saying he’d consider finishing his career with Cleveland, his hometown team.

The current Cavaliers are only concerned with getting the most out of this season.

“Our guys want to make our own legacy,” Cleveland All-Star guard Darius Garland said. “Putting Cleveland on the map without Bron would mean a lot to all of us. It’s a new look, a new feel. We’re building into some other stuff we will be able to talk about later. We will keep growing and see what happens.”

Those words were echoed by the team’s other All-Star Game participant.

“Obviously it’s a different situation for Cleveland — finally not having LeBron and being one of the better teams,” center Jarrett Allen said. “Showing and proving that the Cavaliers are back. We’re finally back. We’re finally ready to play basketball.”

Garland, who averages 20.3 points a game, is the team’s leading scorer, and Allen (16.2) is No. 3. The team’s front office provided another offensive power by acquiring Caris LeVert from Indiana before the trade deadline. LeVert is averaging 18.2 points a game for the season and 13.3 points and 3.8 assists in his first four games with the Cavaliers.

“We have a whole group of new, young guys, and we’re hungry,” forward Isaac Okoro said. “We have that grit, that toughness, and we’re ready to show the league that we’re one of those teams. We take pride in it. But we don’t think of it as trying to be a team that doesn’t have LeBron or anything like that. Just try to think of it like we’re a young group right now that’s trying to win games.”

The Pistons are on track for another high lottery pick; they entered the break with the league’s second-worst record.

Detroit snapped an eight-game losing streak in its most recent outing, defeating Boston on the road, 112-111, on Feb. 16.

“We didn’t want to go into the break with nine straight losses,” forward Jerami Grant said. “We’ve got something to build on for the rest of the season now. It’s huge.”

Detroit’s Cade Cunningham earned Most Valuable Player honors in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend. Cunningham hasn’t had much else to celebrate during another rebuilding season in Detroit.

“It’s been a tough experience so far,” he said. “Losing this many games, a lot of us haven’t lost this many games before in our life. So that’s definitely been tough.”

The game Thursday will feature two of the top candidates for the Rookie of the Year award. Cunningham, the top pick in last year’s draft, is averaging 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game. Cleveland big man Evan Mobley, the third overall selection, is averaging 14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

This will be the third of four meetings between the Central Division rivals. The Cavaliers won at home 98-78 on Nov. 12, and the Pistons prevailed on their home court 115-105 on Jan. 30.

–Field Level Media