Game time is 7 p.m. and there is again no TV.
It was ugly for all non-Derrick Rose fans in Chicago last night as the Detroit Pistons were thoroughly outplayed in every phase of the game and the offense was stagnant and directionless, with the team settling for long jumpers with little ball movement once the Bulls packed the paint.
That's understandable with so many guards unable to suit up (Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups) and against one of the best defenses in the NBA. Tonight, the Pistons not only play a squad a little more at their level on both offense and defense, but also will get Chauncey Billups back. Perhaps a boost to the point guard spot is just what the doctor ordered.
The Cavs, meanwhile, are coming off a drubbing of their own. But instead of being taken down by the Bulls, they were taken down by the Bobcats. Cleveland is playing without offseason addition (and longtime Piston fan target Jarrett Jack and Tyler Zeller, plus I think Andrew Bynum is being held out because the team is afraid he'll pull a Mr. Glass.
And speaking of Bynum, the Cavs, like the Pistons, are one of the more intriguing roster makeovers of the offseason. With boom or bust pickups Bynum, Dion Waiters and reigning No. 1 overall selection Anthony Bennett. If Bynum stays healthy, the Cavs are a fringe playoff team, if Bynum is healthy Waiters improves his shot selection and Bennett his the ground running with a multitude of ways to score then they'll be fighting with the Pistons for the fifth or sixth playoff seed. But if Bennett needs seasoning and Bynum pulls a ... a Bynum, then it could be a lost year in Cleveland.
Keys to the Game
Chauncey Billups -- Watching the Pistons against the Bulls, it was apparent that Detroit's first unit was desperate for a steady hand to run the offense and get the big men involved and in positions where they could score. That's not exactly Will Bynum's strong suit, especially when thrust into the starting lineup and going up against the other team's best defenders. I expect Billups to get some decent burn tonight at both guard positions as Mo Cheeks tries to figure out his back court possibilities while Stuckey and Jennings are on the mend.
The rest of the guards -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope took a step forward with his offense against the Bulls (hitting 3 of 4 from 3-point land), now he just needs to take another step forward in overall efficiency to go with the defense and rebounding he is already providing. Bynum is coming off a forgettable performance in his home town, Kyle Singler fouled way too much, Peyton Siva passed well but shot horribly. They all could use a pick-me-up game.
Anthony Bennett -- Remember before the draft when one of the last high-profile mocks had Detroit selecting Bennett at No. 8 and we all freaked out (in a bad way)? Well, it was fitting that in one of the craziest drafts I can remember, the Cavs ended up swinging for the fences and selecting him No. 1 overall. Through three preseason games, results seem to be what most people expected. Bennett has struggled overall with conditioning, defense, turnovers and is only hitting on 34.5 percent from the floor. But he has shown some offensive versatility, including hitting 4-of-11 from deep from mostly the power forward position. I look forward to seeing him in action for the first time.