Tip-off at 7:30 p.m. No TV so get your front-row tickets. Will be broadcast on radio.
The Detroit Pistons have become the walking wounded, especially in the back court. The injuries are so bad, in fact, that the Pistons were forced to rely on Will Bynum to play 46 minutes in their loss to the Miami Heat.
The team is being purposefully cautious with veteran Chauncey Billups as he eases his way into game shape. Brandon Jennings is still sidelined with wisdom tooth pain, while Rodney Stuckey is coming off successful surgery on his thumb. Peyton Siva had been unavailable due to a calf strain, but reports are that he was able to participate in practice yesterday and will be activated for the game tonight. I'm sure Bynum appreciates it.
Their opponent is the Brooklyn Nets, who might be competing with the Pistons for biggest offseason roster upgrades. The Nets were able to add future hall of famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as well as Jason Terry. But similar to the Pistons' caution with Billups, the Nets did not ride Garnett or Pierce too hard (each played about 13 minutes in the Nets' first preseason game).
That means you can expect to see a steady dose of Tyshawn Taylor, Andrei Kirilenko, former Michigan State Spartan Alan Anderson and Andray Blatche.
Keys to the Game
Monroe in the high post -- While Greg Monroe struggled with his shot against the Heat, he made a lot of great decisions in the high post. While his jumper is still a work in progress, he is able to use his quick first step to knife past a sagging defender (he got to the free-throw line 12 times), and if they tried to body him up he found an open teammate. Just something to keep an eye on as this team tries to make its big three experiment work.
Drummond evolution -- Andre Drummond was amazing against the Heat. The big man was active in all phases of the game and finished with 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting, 11 rebounds and a block. And while it largely went unnoticed, Drummond was also 5 of 7 from the free-throw line. The thought of Drummond with a legitimate free-throw stroke is just too exciting.
PeyPey to play -- As mentioned previously, Peyton Siva is expected to get his first game action tonight. And it's none too soon. Against the Heat, Bynum was in full hero ball mode for better and worse. he was 11-for-16 from the field and had six assists. But he also had seven really sloppy turnovers. Siva, meanwhile, seems like bizzaro Bynum. He's not going to light up the scoreboard, but he will be slow and steady and run the offense. Siva hasn't been able to practice much so I'm not sure how many minutes he's likely to get, but it will be a great chance to see him hit the floor for the first time.
Rotation battle -- Assuming that Bynum, Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerebko, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Charlie Villanueva and Josh Harrellson are all battling for limited rotation minutes, you'd have to say that up to this point Bynum, Singler and Jerebko have the upper hand. KCP has been effective at everything except actually scoring, Harrellson is filling his limited role and CV is playing himself into wearing nice suits on a nightly basis.
Question of the Game
Who will be the first player of the game to toss Drummond an alley oop dunk?