Game tips at 8:30 pm ET
Houston: 13-10 (5-4 Home)
Pistons: 11-12 (3-8 Road)
Now the real test begins. After stringing together a series of relatively easy wins, the Pistons face the team Moneyball built. Fortunately for Detroit, advanced mathematics do not allow players to perform better at home than on the road. That gives Detroit a 39.766523423 percent chance of winning tonight.
The Rockets are unique insofar as their best player ranks fifth in minutes played. Carl Landry averages an outstanding 16.7 points in just 26.6 minutes played. He does not start, though, because, of the 37 Nobel laureates assigned to the Landry question, 23 believe he should not start.
All kidding aside, whatever the Rockets are doing, it is working. Their second leading scorer shoots 38% from the field. The subtraction of Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest has had little impact. Chuck Hayes... I mean, Chuck Hayes! How do you stop a team that only makes sense in a laboratory?
You wish you traded for Jonas Jerebko, don't you Daryl Morey? Don't you? Cause he's the 14th best player in the NBA according to your science. But you don't have him, and that kills you inside. He will score 9 points with 6 rebounds, but he will beat you, almost singlehandedly, and it will haunt your robot dreams.
Keys for Detroit
Manage something from the three point range: Do you have any idea how good this team would be if this happened? Ugh.
Remember Gilligan: You know how the Harlem Globetrotters were getting beat by the Cybertronics at half time, because they were playing precitable basketball? I want to see lots of behing the back dribbling! In all seriousness, though, the Pistons bring some unconventional looks that could create problems for a team that thrives on devouring predictable offenses.
Stop the big guys: The Rockets survive on offense by extracting the bare minimum from outside players, and getting huge numbers from their inside players. Disrupt this balance, and force the Rockets to beat you with their mediocre outside shooting. Also, steal Shane Battier's microchip. Then you will have the saw blades for when you go against Heat Man.
Question of the Game
Is Rodney Stuckey back? He won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award, which seems relatively familiar. Is it for real this time, or is he headed for another wall? This game will be a good bellwether, I think. Would love to see an 8-16 for 22 points tonight.