Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons: The History of a Rust Belt Rivalry

When Do the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons Play Next?

Cleveland Cavaliers tickets and Detroit Pistons tickets can be found on their respective team pages, along with schedule information.

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Are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons Rivals?

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons have been battling for Eastern Conference playoff positioning since 1978. The teams have only met in the postseason four times, the first coming in 2006. But they do have a geographic rivalry, as both teams are on the Great Lakes.

Who Are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Biggest Rivals?

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ best early seasons came in the mid-’70s and late ’80s when they finished the 1988–89 regular season with a then-franchise-best record of 57-25, second only to the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference. Their most successful seasons came after a young LeBron James joined the team in the 2005–06 season. The team has battled the Chicago Bulls seven times in the playoffs, including some memorable series over the years. Michael Jordan’s “The Shot” in the first round of the 1989 playoffs knocked Cleveland out and then Jordan’s Bulls ousted the Cavaliers again in the 1992 Conference Finals and the 1993 Conference Semifinals.

The Cavaliers finally broke through against Chicago in 2010, when Cleveland beat the Bulls in five games in the first round. In 2015, James and the Cavaliers bested the Bulls in six games in the Conference Semifinals.

Who Are the Detroit Pistons’ Biggest Rivals?

The most heated rival for the Detroit Pistons is also the Bulls. As it was for the Cavaliers, the largest part of the rivalry runs through the Bulls’ Michael Jordan era. The late 1980s success of the Pistons ended Chicago’s season three straight years from 1988 to 1990. But in 1991, the Bulls swept the Pistons en route to the first of three straight titles.

The Pistons have also battled the Boston Celtics for many years. The rivalry took hold in the 1980s, as the Pistons lost the first two playoff series of the decade before winning the final two, including in 1989 before their first championship in team history.

Game Results Between the Cavaliers & Pistons

The Cavaliers topped the Pistons, 108-100, in their first meeting on November 17 in Cleveland as part of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. The teams will play in Ohio again on January 31. Detroit will host Cleveland on December 2 and March 1, 2024.

DateHome TeamAway TeamLocationWinnerScore
2023-12-02PistonsCavaliersLittle Caesars ArenaCleveland 110-101
2023-11-17CavaliersPistonsRocket Mortgage FieldHouseCleveland 108-100
2023-03-04CavaliersPistonsRocket Mortgage FieldHouseCleveland 114-90
2023-02-08CavaliersPistonsRocket Mortgage FieldHouseCleveland 113-85
2022-11-27PistonsCavaliersLittle Caesars ArenaCleveland 102-94
2022-11-04PistonsCavaliersLittle Caesars ArenaCleveland 112-88
2022-03-19CavaliersPistonsRocket Mortgage FieldHouseCleveland 113-109
2022-02-24PistonsCavaliersLittle Caesars ArenaDetroit106-103
2022-01-30PistonsCavaliersLittle Caesars ArenaDetroit115-105
2021-11-12CavaliersPistonsRocket Mortgage FieldHouseCleveland 98-78

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Detroit Pistons History

The Cavaliers and Pistons have met 254 times with Detroit dominating the regular season matchups. Detroit has a 132-101 advantage in the regular season but Cleveland has the postseason edge, winning 15 of 21 games and three of the four series.

In the Cavaliers season that ended with “The Shot” against Chicago, the Pistons went on to win their first title in 1989. But neither team could get by Chicago in the early 1990s. Cleveland was down for much of the decade and into the next until they drafted LeBron James in 2003. That season, while James was winning Rookie of the Year, the Pistons won their most recent title.

In 2006, the Pistons edged the Cavaliers in seven games in the Conference Semifinals in James’ first playoff experience. But in 2007, the torch was passed and James and the Cavaliers defeated the Pistons in the Conference Finals and again the next year in the first round. The Pistons missed the playoffs from 2010 to 2015 , but their 2016 appearance ended in a first-round sweep to the Cavaliers when Cleveland won its first NBA title.

Where Do the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers Play?

The Detroit Pistons play at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Pistons and the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL call it home.

The Cleveland Cavaliers play at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s the home of the Cavaliers and also the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League.

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