For most, it was the day after St. Patrick's Day. Many are finally done worshiping the porcelain gods, rolling over to find the hot guy/girl next to them looks more like Bigfoot than they expected, and slowly realizing the green beer they drank last night was actually toilet bowl cleaner. For Mike Payne, it was just your average Thursday.
Of course, most people are focused on the NCAA Tournament. In a twist on the norms, Michigan advanced easily and Michigan State was eliminated despite a frantic comeback from down 23. Oakland gave plenty of headaches to the #4 Texas, surprisingly enough, in an 85-81 loss. I haven't really kept up with the non-Michigan teams right now but this isn't about March Madness, it's about the Pistons' push towards the playoffs!
About the Opponents:
The Knicks spent a lot of money on Amar'e Stoudemire and added Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups in a blockbuster deal. Right now, the team sits 3 games over .500. Since acquiring their "second superstar" the Knicks are only 7-6 and only a half game up on current 7th seed the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers. Before last night's win over Memphis, New York had dropped three straight. There's two things you need to know about the Knicks: they score a lot of points (106.8 PPG) and they give up a lot of points (105.9 PPG). In the two times the Pistons and Knicks have met, the Knicks have hit 120+ points. They play at the 2nd highest pace in the league so expect to hear about how the Pistons need to slow the game down in order to win as they're down by 20.
Pick a name out of a hat, they're probably starting at PG.
SG is determined by a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
SF, if it's anyone other than Prince it would be obvious buffonery.
PF, your move, creep.
C will be determined by the wealthy industrialists in my peer group.
Keys to the Game:
Lack of Mozgov
Last time these teams met, Mozgov did his best Greg Monroe impersonation (more like Moosegov, am I right?) by dropping 23 points and grabbing 14 boards. While our ability to stop scrub big men from going off on us has been rather lousy, something tells me Jared Jeffries isn't going to have a performance like that.
Keep Chauncey off the Line
In seven games with the Knicks, Chauncey has averaging 9.9 attempts per 36 minutes, which is the highest of his career by a wide margin (granted, it's just 7 games). On the flip side, however, he's struggling from three point range, hitting less than 29% of his shots. I know this sounds weird, but in this came you probably want to let Chauncey take a open three rather than have him drive the lane right now. Yes, I wrote down. No, I stopped doing drugs.
The 3-point Line
The Pistons are 5th in Three-Point Percentage, the Knicks are 6th worst in the league in terms of defending the three-point line. I don't know how this will work but I made a diagram that will hopefully explain everything:
So yeah. Follow that and victory is ours!
I was hoping for a better debut for my Game Thread, but I felt I owed you guys for missing out on the last time it was my turn, and hopefully the next one I do I'll get to insert a bit more of my humor. But since no one signed up for today, I'll make my first attempt at redemption. So, enjoy!