In my preview of the Minnesota Timberwolves game, I stated that it was my birthday and that I wanted either a Pistons win or a PlayStation 4. Seeing as the Pistons lost, I was then banking on the gaming system (what 19 year old doesn't?). Unfortunately, I received a pair of socks (no joke, my parents also got me a new basketball hoop, but that's not the point), and thus the Pistons effectively ruined my day. Don't bother denying it, it's practically Newtonian.
Where: The MFPalace of Auburn Hills, MI/rathole (if you're Dan Gilbert), MI
When: Saturday, Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit (or in my case, NBA League Pass Free Trial - I'll be sad when I have to opt out to save the ridonkulous joining fee)
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
The Pistons disappointed in what was a tough road trip. Away to Denver and Minnesota in your first two games is not an easy start, especially when one of those teams has beaten you nine times in a row and you're without Greg Monroe in both games. D.J. Augustin has shaded the PG battle, but don't expect Stan Van Gundy to wring changes regardless of what Jennings has said. Josh Smith continues to be at his infuriating best, and Andre Drummond seems out of sorts. Hopefully, when Josh Smith hears boos instead of cheers when he shoots, he'll realize he should be as far away from the basket at all times as he is when he stands next to a toilet to pee (assuming he's not a distance guy).
The wings have largely disappointed for Detroit as well. Kyle Singler looks lost on individual defense, even though he had two tough matchups in Gallinari and Wiggins. Although both men had bad games shooting wise, Gallinari had no confidence in his jumpshot because of his knees, and Wiggins exhibited rookie exuberance and wet ears. At least Singler has hit a few shots. KCP has shot 8-for-32 so far for a worldbeating 25%, so this one is a good chance for him to steady himself.
The Nets have only played once this season, but it was an embarrassing blowout 121-105 loss in Boston. Mirza Teletovic led the team with 20 points and 6 rebounds, while Deron Williams and Joe Johnson contributed 19 each. The Nets looked bad and trailed by 26 at the half before eventually falling by 16 to a Boston team many expect to be checking their raffle tickets come June.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Andre Drummond
Drummond has looked disinterested so far this season, save for a couple of nasty dunks on Timofey Mozgov. He is averaging 11 points and 10.5 rebounds so far over the first two games, but there might be a little extra motivation in this one. Drummond will be facing off against Mason Plumlee, who was inexplicably, at least in the eyes of Pistons fans, ahead of Drummond on the Team USA depth chart at the FIBA tournament. He will want to prove to Coach K that he can be a more dominant center and that he deserves more time.
Nets: Mason Plumlee
Pretty much the same reason as Drummond. Although in Plumlee's case, it will be interesting to see how he deals with someone who is trying to prove a point to a coach. Over on NetsDaily, they seem to think Plumlee isn't strong enough to match up with Dre, and that Dre will have the FIBA tourney as motivation. Watch this space.
Last Time We Met
Our last meeting with Brooklyn was on April 4, where we dropped our only game of the four-part series, 116-104. Drummond had a typically big game with 23 points and 18 rebounds, with Josh Smith adding 17 and Kyle Singler and Jonas Jerebko each adding 16. Shaun Livingston (now with the Warriors) led the Nets with 23.
The day off should have been welcomed by Van Gundy to give him enough time to yell at his charges about trivial things like offense and defense. Playing in front of probably the biggest crowd we'll see at the Palace all season because of opening night should inspire the team to a semi-respectable performance.
Pistons 104, Nets 95
The Game Notes indicate Smith as the likely starter at PF, so I'll go with that, but don't be surprised to see the returning Moose play from the start.
Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Smith, Drummond
Nets: Williams, Bogdanovic, Johnson, Garnett, Plumlee
Pistons: Meeks (back), Martin (foot)
Nets: Lopez (foot)
Who will win the battle of the FIBA centers?