Kings: 8-24 (2-13 road)
Margin: -9.5 ppg (-13.5 road)
Last 10: 2-8 (margin -13.5)
Pistons: 19-11 (11-5 home)
Margin: +0.9 ppg (+2.3 home)
Last 10: 8-2 (margin +4.2)
The 8-24 record doesn’t really do justice to how poor this Kings squad really is. The team needed 17 points from Kevin Martin (just returned from injury) to beat a short-handed Clippers squad by two at home. At present, this is the worst team in the league.
That said, Kevin Martin is precisely the sort of player who gives the Piston defense fits, and we didn’t exactly light up the Kings when they were without Martin. Jason Thompson, Beno Udrih and Spencer Hawes all had nice games, even though none of them has played particularly well this season.
Hawes is out with an abdominal strain, which is a boon given that the Pistons are likely to be down two (Wallace and Dyess) in the front court. Without Hawes, and with Martin likely returning to the starting lineup, the Kings are unlikely to go big. But then, Brad Miller is unlikely to go 2-16.
I’ve got nothin’…
Keys for Detroit:
Go to the zone: The Kings are an awful perimeter team, so there is absolutely no reason to let Martin get into the lane. Expect to see some zone, plenty of Spellcheck, and a lot of wide open three point looks.
Keep contact to a minimum: The Kings are solid free throw shooters up and down their lineup. Ticky-tack fouls on their bigs are going to cost us points. This should be an interesting test for Amir, who could potentially see 30+ minutes tonight.
Take it to the hoop: The Kings are foul prone, slow on defense, and can’t defend the perimeter. Iverson and Stuckey should not hesitate to feed the Kings a stead diet of drive and dish. If those two on their game, this will be over early.
Question of the game:
Can’t we just have a good old-fashioned blowout? With a Western Conference swing on the horizon, including a cross country trip to Los Angeles for a Sunday matinee, it would be nice to get the starters some rest. The Pistons have only one victory of 15 or more this season. They had 26 such contests last year.