The Pistons enter this game in tumult. Allen Iverson, as some anticipated, melted down before the finish line. The Pistons have won only 14 of their last 41. And yet, they are still in the drivers seat to fend off the (ugh) Charlotte Bobcats for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
3:00 pm ET
Philadelphia: 39-35 (23-15 home)
Margin: +0.9 ppg (+1.7 last 25%)
Pistons: 36-39 (17-20 road)
Margin:-0.8 (+0.2 last 25%)
Last 10: 3-7
It’s hard to say much has changed for Philadelphia since last week, when Detroit beat them 101-97 at the Palace. Andre Miller continues to defy the age gods, Willie Green continues to defy the player-should-get-minutes-only-if-they-play-well gods. Elton Brand is still out for the season, Samuel Dalembert continues to flounder in his absense, and Mareese Speights still can’t unseat Reggie Evans.
Looking at the box score, it’s tough to see how Sunday’s game was so close. The Pistons shot the lights out, went to the free throw line eight more times, and generally outplayed Philadelphia. Turnover differential and missed free throws nearly sent Detroit to yet another close defeat.
AI returns to Phil…. Oh, right.
Keys for Detroit
Hey, they worked the last time around…
Speed it up: I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face, but Curry’s "midget-grind" style is exactly what Philly wants to see.
Force jumpers: You know how teams were always playing zone against Stuckey and Iverson? Same concept applies here. If Andre Miller hits six threes, there’s not much you can do.
Get Speights in foul trouble: How many young careers have been ruined by coaches’ over-emphasis on fouls? Speights is looking like a classic case.
Question of the Game
Now what? Without Iverson, this team has run out of excuses. Is there enough in them to make a push to the playoffs, or are the Pistons cooked?
(4/6 Update: This post accidentally disappeared for a day, but it's back ...)