Game tips at 8:30 pm ET
Oklahoma City: 12-12 (6-7 Home)
Pistons: 11-14 (3-10 Road)
I do love these West Coast road trips, don't you? At least Detroit gets to come home Sunday for a matchup against the lowly Lakers. Ugh. The Pistons are turning into a pretty horrendous road team, so it is perhaps fortunate that they are facing a team that hasn't been particularly successful at home.
That said, the Thunder have a chance to sweep the series against the Pistons tonight on their home court. The Thunder is a pretty exciting team, but they are still an average team, and still feature a weak bench.
It's pretty ridiculous do discuss OKC without bringing up KD (you see what I did there, what with the acronyms, and you liked it). Not only has he increased his player efficiency rating from 20.9 to 23.5, but he seems to have conquered a problem battling screens that made him an advanced stat pariah.
The nice thing about having a superstar is that the rest of the team can simply fill in the gaps. Russell Westbrook still turns the ball over and can't shoot, but he can distribute the ball and get to the line (he's sort of a lower middle class man's Rodney Stuckey). Thabo can focus exclusively (and I mean exclusively) on stopping opposing wings. Etan Thomas... Well, Durant's pretty good, is the point.
The random, "which badly injured player will randomly suit up tonight?" game is always fun. Also, something tells me Jerebko gets a tech.
Keys for Detroit
Manage something from the three point range: Is a 5-14 performance cause for celebration? No.
Get the big men in foul trouble: I think I said this last time, but it's still true. This bench is weak, and the more Etan Thomas, the better.
Stop Durant: As he goes, the team goes. I don't think there is a player in the league who contributes a greater majority of his team's offense. He hasn't cracked 50% from the field in the last five games, so teams seem to be starting to figure him out a bit.
Question of the Game
Can we shake the demons? The last loss was pretty tough, and tonight is a very winnable game heading into a Sunday matchup that is somewhat less winnable.