Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
When: 7 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
The Pistons dropped their second game in a row in a tough 102-91 loss on the road in Chicago. There were some positives in this game, like the spirit the team showed to rally from a 19-point deficit to whittle it down to two before He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named shot an ill-advised three to kill the momentum before Jimmy Butler a.k.a. Jimmy "Buckets" a.k.a. "Bang Bang" (to Stacey King) spat in our faces with a three of his own.
Josh Smith led the team in scoring with 19 points and 11 rebounds to go with four assists and three blocks, and was actually having a nice game until the game-killing three, at which point the pitchforks were hoisted back over shoulders and torches were lit. Greg Monroe continued to showcase himself to the rest of the league with a 16 and 10 game, and D.J. Augustin added 16 off the bench. However, Andre Drummond has just sucked on offense. He was 0-5 from the field, and finished with a measly two points on 2-4 FT shooting, to go along with 12 rebounds.
There have been some coaching head scratchers lately from SVG. For many, the issue is why the "Bachelor of the Year" Jerebko has received two DNP-CD's while Smith has averaged over 35 minutes a game. Considering our spacing ineptitude, Jerebko seems like the perfect fit, especially given SVG's propensity for stretch PFs. Another polarizing viewpoint is how SVG has handled the point guard situation. Some feel that Brandon Jennings has worked into a groove, only to be subbed out for long stretches for the oft-selfish Augustin, whereas others are of the opinion that D.J. plays with more control, has a greater ability to get to the line and has a more consistent stroke than Jennings. I'm personally in Camp A -- I would like to see Jennings' minutes increased from 26.3 to around 30-32, and Augustin's minutes dropped from 23.4 to around 18. Or else, manage the rotations better, because there are often times where Jennings has played well, gotten hot, and then sat for a full quarter, even though D.J. has killed the offensive cohesion because of his scoring nature. Either way, both guards have given the fans an improved offering from WAWB and Rodney S(t)uckey last season.
The Wizards (5-2) are coming off a 97-90 win over the depleted Indiana Pacers. John Wall had 18 points to go with four assists and four steals, while Nene added 17 and seven rebounds with five assists. Garrett Temple, the filler for Bradley Beal and Martell Webster, had a nice outing with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Wizards' "marquee" signing, Paul Pierce, has struggled so far this season. He's averaging a meager 11.9 points per game on a putrid 33 percent shooting from the field. That's Josh Smith territory. However, if Smith starts at SF [likely], don't be surprised for Pierce to go for 30 and find his range, because that's how life works apparently.
It should also be mentioned that, even though the Wizards are 5-2, all their games have come against the Eastern Conference. Their games have come against Miami (weakened but still fairly good), Orlando (lottery), Milwaukee (lottery), New York (lottery - borderline), Indiana (twice - lottery) and Toronto (top 3). That's one, maybe two legitimate teams, and that's where their losses came (107-95 at Miami, 103-84 at Toronto). They are 2-0 at home, and we may just be mixed into the lottery teams on their "cupcake schedule", but we can fight them.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Andre Drummond
He played like Drummund on Monday, no "O" at all, and we can only hope he wakes from his effortless slumber. The lack of pick and rolls is disturbing, although it may just be teams are better prepared against him this season. I read somewhere that the reason for Drummond's struggles can be attributed to his post touches, but not because of his scoring, but by feeding him the ball in the post, it takes him away from the offensive glass a lot more, which is where he used to get a lot of his points. Of course, I'm hoping he goes for 20-20, because I have him in one of my fantasy leagues. Brandon, you can play well as well thanks.
Wizards: John Wall
Jennings gets to go up against two bull-headed PGs in a row. Derrick Rose, albeit hurt slightly, is an irresistible force, and John Wall is basically the 6-4 version. Jennings still isn't great on D. The effort is there, but this may be a long night for our toddler-sized general. Having your backup being shorter than your starter also doesn't help, especially when the starter is listed at a generous 6-1.
Side note: I found out today that Jennings' son is called Legend Truth Jennings. Wtf? Even Josh Smith gave his kids normal(ish) names, Josh Jr. and Genesis (I'm assuming the in-laws didn't approve of Numbers).
Last Time We Met
Preseason aside, our last regular season meeting was Jan. 18, 2014, where the Pistons actually pulled out a 104-98 victory against a full-strength Wizards with Beal and Ariza minus Pierce. Guess what, we came from behind to win. After losing the 1st half 54-46, the Pistons outscored the Wiz 33-22 in the 3rd and 25-22 in the 4th, led by Josh Smith's 22 points and Rodney Stuckey's 20 off the bench. Brandon had 14 and eight assists, while John Wall ran rampant with 34.
The Pistons lost in D.C., 91-89, during the preseason, falling late in a game in which it was feared KCP was seriously injured.
I'm an eternal optimist when it comes to sports and the biggest pessimist about everything else. Therefore, I've been sculling the Kool-Aid, and will predict a narrow win. Knowing us, we'll probably get blown out by 25, but optimism is fun, until the game starts.
Pistons 93, Wizards 90
Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Smith, Monroe, Drummond
Wizards: Wall, Temple, Pierce, Nene, Gortat
Pistons: Meeks (back), Datome (hamstring), Martin (foot)*
Wizards: Beal (wrist), Webster (back)
*Note: Cartier Martin, according to SVG, has been medically cleared to play for "two weeks", and it is up to the player as to when he plays, which will be when he can deal with the pain in his foot. This seems like a call-out to Martin, who we desperately need to provide some perimeter and D-type play. Not that he'll start when he returns, but it may mean no more Smith at SF.
It returns after Sean disappointingly left it out vs the Bulls. Come on, Sean -- in the words of Jalen Rose, "Gotta give the people what they want!"
Is SVGAFI, or do you subscribe to the paradigm that he is "rusty" after being out of coaching for a while? Also, Jonas tonight?
Author note: I'm back for the previews. Sorry I had to pass last game to Sean (good job, buddy), but the night before, which is when I write my previews before I go to bed, I was really busy. I had to submit a uni quiz online for finance, which I got 69% (quite ok with that), and I also had my own personal game. I should point out that this was probably the best game I've played, scoring 15 points (5-10 FG, 4-7 3PT, 1-2 FT), but that missed free throw bugs me. I'm a good shooter usually, but I'm 10-15 at the line this season, disgusting. I'm also only averaging around 5 points per game, but I feel that was my breakout game, as we had no reserves, and now I'm taking the Drummondian leap.