Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
The Pistons got rolled by all the Nuggets big men in the first meeting between these two teams. For Detroit to win they will need big games from Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and, gulp, Charlie Villanueva.
The Pistons are facing the Nuggets for the second time this season. In the first meeting neither team's starting backcourt could do much of anything. Rodney Stuckey started the season 1-for-eternity and Brandon Knight was passing it to the other team more often than he was passing it to teammates and he couldn't hit any shots either. The Nuggets' Ty Lawson, who holds a special place in many DBBer's heart in the alternate universe where the Pistons drafted him instead of Austin Daye in 2009, also got off to a rough start. He could still find open teammates but he was turning the ball over and couldn't hit shots from mid-range, from 3 or at the charity stripe.
None of those three are playing as terribly as during the first meeting but Ty Lawson has been better than the Pistons duo and presents, with his running mate Andre Miller, presents especially big problems for the Pistons in the point guard battle.
Keys to the Game
Brandon Knight: As I said, the point-guard matchup heavily favors the Nuggets, even accounting for Knight's recent offensive production. Knight's going to have to stay in front of the speedy Lawson and play smart enough to keep up with the crafty veteran Miller. He'll also have to limit his turnovers and his offense will be needed tonight.
CAPS LOCK: In the previous meeting between these teams the Denver big men carved up Detroit in a way that I almost don't believe except I'm currently looking at the box score. The combined forces of Kosta Koufos, Kenneth Faried and professional facepalm-inducer JaVale McGee combined for 45 points on 21-for-34 shooting to go with 16 rebounds.
In that game Andre Drummond played only 12 minutes. In Detroit's previous game against Philly, he played only 13 minutes. That can't happen tonight. THAT CAN'T HAPPEN TONIGHT. Drummond's defense presence in the paint is vital. He can't afford any lapses on defense and he needs to assert himself. Denver scores more than 50 points per game in the paint (No. 1 in the NBA) and it's not just their big men. Drummond and co. will also need to account for the likes of Corey Brewer, Andre Iguodola, Danilo Galinari and Lawson. Also, Greg Monroe, coming off a quality game after a noticeable skid, needs to have 15+ attempts and I want to see a double-double. I also want 47+ minutes combined for Moose and Bull, including some time on the floor together.
3-point party: Back to the Bull. Not only is his defense important but if the Nuggets need to account for him on offense too it could greatly open the floor. The Pistons love to shoot 3s, especially since Charlie V. got inserted into the rotation. Denver is horrible at defending the 3 and for the Pistons to win this game they need to shoot and convert from long range. Luckily, Knight, CV, Tayshaun Prince and Kyle Singler can all connect from deep.
Question of the game
No question but a prediction -- Singler is going to have 15+ points on efficient shooting and at least one nice transition dunk.