In game one of this back-to-back against the Pacers, everything was terrible. Remember when Sean_Corp wrote about how good that Pacers' defense has been this season? Yeah, it was that good. Dominant. Stifling. And the offense? Awfully effective, too. On the season, the Pistons are now 0-3 against the Pacers and the combined score of those three games - brace yourself - is 300-238, or an average margin of victory of nearly 21 points per game for the Pacers.
Jose Calderon summed up the game perfectly:
It's easy to explain. Easier than you think. We didn’t play defense the way we were supposed to. We didn’t make shots. That’s what happened. When you get a good team like Indiana playing like that … they beat the Knicks by 30 a couple of days ago. We knew what to expect
Sounds about right. The Pistons missed all the shots, and the Pacers made them.
But in their fourth and final meeting with the Pacers this season, the Pistons have a chance for some vindication. Kyle Singler summed up the situation perfectly:
The Pistons host Indiana in a Saturday rematch at The Palace. Good thing or bad thing? "There’s no right answer, I don’t think, for that," Kyle Singler said. "We’re playing another game tomorrow and we get a chance to bounce back from what we did today. That’s the mindset we have to have.
Keys to the Game
Forget about last night: Arguably, the Pistons played their worst basketball of the season last night. Apart from Slava's double double, literally nothing was working. Whatever that was, forget about it.
Remember last night: Anyone who's a competitor at heart knows that getting blown out by the opposition can serve as potent motivation. So while the Pistons would do well to leave their poor performance behind, they'd do equally well to remember that this is their last crack at the Pacers this year, and they've yet to fell their division rival - that also happens to be first and also just put them over their collective knee and gave them a good whipping.
The Pacers are vulnerable on the road: This isn't so much a strategical recommendation as a simple observation. The Pacers are really good at home this season, but they're a losing team on the road. It's easy to envision them being complacent and sluggish. It's game two of a back-to-back, they may be overconfident after a big win, and so on. Hit early and hit hard.
Set Moose up to be effective: If I could offer just one critique of Greg Monroe's offensive game thus far in his career, it would be that at times he struggles to finish against bigger defenders. Some of this is surely a function of the Pistons not having a true center for much of Greg's career, and as a result, he's been forced to play center almost exclusively. Given Slava's recent performance (and Jason Maxiell's admitted struggles of late), I have a proposal: part 1) play Moose and Slava at the same time, especially when Roy Hibbert is on the floor; part 2) when Moose is matched up against Hibbert, get him the ball in the high post and encourage him to beat Hibbert off the dribble.