The situation isn't that complicated. The Detroit Pistons need a win desperately. The Brooklyn Nets need a win desperately. Both teams spent big money this summer to upgrade their rosters. Both brought in new coaches. Both teams are underachieving. Both teams need a win, but only one of them is going to get it.
(At the time of writing) Brooklyn appears vulnerable. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry are expected to be out. Obviously, there is still plenty of talent here - Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, and Kevin Garnett to name a few - but Brooklyn should be very beatable.
On the Pistons side, Chauncey Billups and Will Bynum are not expected to play. After not starting Friday's game, Josh Smith is listed as a probable starter, replacing Kyle Singler who made the most of his opportunity with a career-high twenty-two points. Smith indicated his absence from practice was a simple mistake and the result of miscommunication.
Keys to the Game
Defense: The Nets have the second-to-last defense in the NBA. The Pistons are not last anymore, but their defense is still near the bottom of the league. Fortunately, Detroit's offense has performed better all season. Advantage, Pistons. Especially with the aforementioned injuries, Detroit should be able to contain Brooklyn on D and exploit the Nets' porous D on the other side of the ball.
Feed the Moose: It is not obvious to the Detroit Pistons that they should do this. They should do this. Greg Monroe has the seventh-highest usage on the team right now, and the the lowest usage rate since his rookie season. The Moose is hungry. Feed him.
Play the right players: In particular, Rodney Stuckey and Josh Harrellson. I've been a vocal critic of Stuckey throughout his career, but his performance on the court this season is not being rewarded with minutes. He's been the best Pistons guard, and he should be playing more. Josh Harrellson has demonstrated that he can produce on the court as well. Plus, the way he produces - a big man who can stretch the floor and connect from behind the long line - is something the congested Pistons front court sorely needs. A strong case could be made that Luigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko also deserve a good look given struggles elsewhere in the rotation. Do it, Mo. There's nothing to lose... except more basketball games.
Question of the Game:
Over/Under: 210 total points allowed by these marvelous defenses.