With the Eastern Conference continuing its downward spiral after a devastating injury to the Hawks' Al Horford and an indefinite suspension to the Cavs' Andrew Bynum, the Pistons are showing little initiative to stake their claim. They were run off the floor against the 8-20 Orlando Magic, falling to seventh in the weak conference.
Last night the Pistons frontcourt ran into a team that could handle them. The combination of Nikola Vucevic, Glen Davis, and Tobias Harris dominated the controlled the paint, taking away the only advantage the Pistons have most nights. The Pistons lost the battle of the boards and the combination of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond offered 10 of 34 shooting.
After a miserable 2-7 start, the Wizards have found a groove thanks in large part to their addition of Marcin Gortat. He's been a perfect fit to the Wizards personnel, averaging 13 points and 9 rebounds.
Keys to the Game
Battle in the paint: After getting shown up last night, the Detroit big men need to bounce back tonight. They face another tough match up, as the Wizards' boast a strong, deep frontcourt. You might not have noticed that Trevor Booker has replaced replaced Nene in the starting lineup after another injury, but it has worked out very well. Booker has always been an underrated player, and hasn't disappointed with the extra minutes.
Josh Smith: Trevor Ariza lit Smith up in their first meeting, with 28 points on 6 three pointers. The Wizards have plenty of guys who can hurt you from deep, and Smith will absolutely need to keep track of his man defensively. He should be able to exploit his man in the paint, so it'll also be important for him to look for opportunities to get close and avoid the long jumpers.
Pistons defense: Detroit offered a dismal defensive effort yesterday, allowing 109 points on 57 percent true shooting. That's awful.