Game Tips at 7:00 P.M. EST.
Detroit Pistons: 0 - 0 (still undefeated)
New Jersey Nets: 0 - 0 (have not yet won a game)
Oppo Research: As we hope is true of our own Pistons, it is fair to say of the New Jersey Nets that the worst is behind them. They've got a new owner who isn't afraid to spend, they booted Thorn and brought in King, they kicked Kiki Vandewutzit for Avery Johnson and drafted
2nd 3rd this summer. Beyond the management and coaching staff, the new faces on court include Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, Joe Smith, the electrifying Johan Petro and Jordan Farmar's ears. That's quite a lot of change, given that the Nets weren't able to lure any of the top tier free agents their way this summer.
So should the Pistons expect a new and improved opponent tonight, a tougher team than the one Detroit bested in the season series last year?
Not yet. Top trade receipt Troy Murphy is injured, leaving the 35-year-old Joe Smith to start in his place at power forwardStill, even the 12 win New Jersey Nets of 2009-10 weren't an easy win for Detroit last year, so Pistons fans cannot expect a cakewalk.
Brook Lopez tore us up last season, especially the 37-point performance against Jason Maxiell when Ben Wallace sat out. Devin Harris had solid games as well, like the 24-point, 14-assist game he recorded in a 4-point loss to Detroit. Obviously, Detroit will need to watch out for those two. But the two other players to keep an eye on tonight will be Kris Humphries and sniper Anthony Morrow. Humphries is the energy-big-off-the-bench that has always given Detroit problems, especially when our post defense is lacking. MP favorite Anthony Morrow, a career 47.2% three point shooter can be devastating if he's not kept under control. The usual suspects in New Jersey will demand attention, but forget about these two players at your own peril.
Keys to the Game:
Move the ball, push the pace. As discussed in the Detroit Pistons 2010-11 Season Preview, Detroit's offense needs an emphasis on ball movement and to use its speed to find more transition opportunities.
Rebound the damned basketball. You sure didn't do much of this in the preseason, Detroit. I want Kuester setting tape recorders in the players bedrooms at night, repeating the phrase "rebound or die, rebound or die, rebound or die..." for hours.
Watch the Guards. Devin Harris can mount a serious attack, and having Anthony Morrow beside him will cause problems for Detroit if we don't have an adequate defense. In case of emergency, move Daye onto Morrow and keep Stuckey on Harris.
Question of the Game:
Alright Detroit, do you really have a chip on your shoulder? Did the injuries really play the most significant role in your failures last season? It's time to prove everyone otherwise, one game at a time. That starts tonight.