CLEVELAND -- With Detroit beaten by a combined 60 points in the last two games against Cleveland, the Cavaliers might seem to be the last team the Pistons want to see right now.
The Pistons have lost seven straight, including a 121-108 setback to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. Detroit owns the league's longest current losing streak and must play a Cavs team Sunday that is 15-2 in its last 17 home games.
But all is not well in Cleveland either. Just ask Isaiah Thomas.
"The problems that we have now are the problems that we had in November," Thomas said. "We've been a lowest five defensive team in the NBA the whole time. So when I come back, it's my fault now, which, life isn't fair, but that's not fair, bro. At all."
The Cavs are 4-7 in January, coinciding with Thomas' return to the court after missing the first 36 games with injuries. There has been plenty of well-documented team in-fighting, with Thomas even jawing at forward Kevin Love at the start of a heated, closed-door meeting last week.
In the Cavs' 115-108 win over Indiana on Friday night, Love grabbed a rebound and bent over to hand it to Thomas like he was a child. Thomas is 5 feet 9 and Love is 6-10.
"Did you see I was smiling right after?" Thomas said. "Like, there's nothing between me and Kevin Love. At all."
OK, then. Thomas is averaging 15.4 points and shooting a career-low 39 percent from the field. He drew boos in the fourth quarter Friday because of poor shot selection (he was 5 of 13 in the game) and committed five turnovers overall.
Not to be outdone, LeBron James posted a rare quadruple-double (26 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, career-worst 11 turnovers). On Saturday, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he showed his players film of their turnovers and bad shots.
"Our turnovers lead to transition," said Lue, whose Cavs are the NBA's worst defensive team statistically. "Teams are so much faster, we turn the ball over we can't get back, we can't get floor balance, and it hurts us on the defensive end."
The Pistons are 3-11 since point guard Reggie Jackson went down with a sprained ankle Dec. 26. They're plummeting in the East and headed toward being sellers by the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.
Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy moved Langston Galloway into Jackson's spot in the starting lineup last week and Ish Smith (Jackson's primary backup) back to the bench.
But Galloway played only 13 minutes against the Thunder on Saturday. Smith played the bulk of the minutes and scored 15 points.
"We were trying to get a balance," Van Gundy said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "The idea was in the starting lineup for Tobias (Harris) primarily but also for Avery (Bradley) to get a little more space on the floor, where guys have to play him.
"That hasn't been as great a running lineup anyway, so a lot of times what we've had is Ish out on the break by himself. The idea is to get Ish back into that second unit with guys who run a little bit more and try to balance our shooting and our speed."