Is it me or is the schedule a little goofy? The Pistons are playing exactly one game on their trip to Texas before returning home to face the 76ers on Friday -- way to save the environment, guys. The ball tips at 8:30 PM on Fox Sports -- give Kevin a big chest-bump for the game preview and leave your thoughts in the comments. -- MW
By Kevin Sawyer
Spurs: 9-7 (5-4 home)
Margin: +0.6 ppg (+0.1 home)
Last 10: 7-3 (margin +3.3)
Pistons: 10-6 (5-3 away)
Margin: +0.1 ppg (+0.4 away)
Last 10: 6-4 (margin -1.9)
There is a strong chance that the Spurs dynamic trio will finally be on the court together. Just in time. Fantastic.
That said, if you are going to pick off the Spurs, the early season is the best time to do it. Coach Gregg Popovich has followed a strategy of allowing his team to dwell at the bottom of the playoff standings before making a late-season push.
Other than that, what is there to research? Roger Mason is filling in nicely as the Brent Barry memorial random 4th best player on the team who shoots a lot of three pointers. Bruce Bowen seems to be on the decline. Outside of that, if you stop the Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, you win. If you don’t, you won’t.
Keys for Detroit:
Run with the ball:
The Spurs want a nice, 88-83 game where they can get Parker back into the groove with half-court sets. The Pistons have three point guards who are capable of making that impossible. Stuckey to Amir should happen more than once tonight.
This isn’t Boston. The Spurs role players are unlikely to beat you. Keeping the ball out of Duncan’s hands and harassing Manu Ginobili should be the top priority. If Ime Udoka lights us up for 30, it just wasn’t meant to be. And please, please, please no Duncan on Kwame one-on-one. That’s a recipe for a 15-2 deficit before the TV timeout.
Attack the basket:
This is one matchup where posting up with Rasheed is undesirable. With two hobbled guards and limited shot-blocking, the Spurs are vulnerable to dribble penetration. Again, look for a big night from Stuckey, but Iverson should get his, and we may see some real minutes for Will Bynum.
Question of the game:
Can the Pistons play up to the competition? One of the ostensible benefits of bringing on a (formerly?) prolific scorer like Iverson was to raise our ceiling. We saw our ceiling against the Lakers and Cavs. A win at San Antonio would raise the roof quite nicely.