This preview is going to be a little abbreviated for a couple reasons: 1. After yesterday's letdown and seemingly infuriating everyone in the comments section with my defense of Joe Dumars' latest lack of action, I'm a little worn down and just want to watch a game again; 2. I got completely sucked into Norfolk State's huge upset win against No. 2 Missouri, which also clears the path for Michigan State to make the Final Four; 3. I was at a work conference all day that concluded with an open bar, and .... oh boy. Oh yeah, The Detroit Pistons play the Phoenix Suns, blah blah blah.
Game Tips at 10:00p.m. EST
Detroit Pistons: 16 - 27 (4 - 16 road)
Phoenix Suns: 21 - 22 (13 - 10 home)
This road trip will basically define the season for the Detroit Pistons. If it goes poorly it probably means the recent string of inspired play had more to do with getting to play at home and playing lackluster opponents. If they can achieve close to a .500 record, it means that the Pistons really are building from game to game and could conceivably win more than half their games for the rest of the season.
The Suns, however, are just one game away from being .500 on the season. It will also be the first game after the trade deadline, which will probably be a relief for veterans Steve Nash, Grant Hill and also for a beleaguered fan base. Both those veterans, by the way, are coming off a day of rest and should be ready to go right out of the gate.
Keys to the Game:
Nash vs. Stuckey -- I fully expect both guards to dominate, and I think whichever of the two has the better game will find their team on the winning side. Rodney Stuckey needs to attack the weak interior and the Piston collectively has to play the kind of defense that leads to Nash having less than double-digit assists and double-digit made 3-pointers.
Gortat vs. Monroe -- The other big matchup of the game will be the battle of the big men. Just as Pistons fans are just about the only ones who realize just how great Greg Monroe has been this year, I'd wager that if you asked Suns fans about Marcin Gortat they would be effusive in their praise. Not only is he their best defensive player by far, he has a very good offensive game, with the ability to face up and hit a jumper and is great in the pick-and-roll with Nash.
Moose, meanwhile, is playing an extremely lackluster Phoenix front line. If he is focused he could have a 20-20 game tonight. The Pistons need to feed the ball into the post and let him go to work.
Knight could surprise -- I have a feeling that Brandon Knight could possibly have a big game tonight. I think the Suns are really going to focus all of their efforts on Stuckey, and that means Knight will be in a lot of one-on-one situations against the defensive deficient Nash. Knight should set an aggressive tone on the offensive end and not be afraid to drive the ball into the lane.
Question of the Game:
Is your bracket already busted?