So the Pistons are 0-3. They remain one of only four winless teams left in the league. Although, we are the best winless team, so that's something, right? The Sixers and Magic are both 0-4 while the Lakers are a horrific 0-5. There is a difference between us and these other teams, however. We are far more talented, in terms of current production. Philadelphia is openly tanking, Orlando is rebuilding around a young core of Payton, Gordon and Vucevic, while Kobe is festively jovial about the Lakers' current struggles.
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills
When: 7:30 p.m. ET; Wednesday, November 5.
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
The Pistons enter this game after several days rest, having been without action since Saturday's loss to Brooklyn in the home opener. While it was good to have Greg Monroe back, Joe Johnson decided that against us was a good time to remind everyone why Atlanta once gave him a $123 million contract, exploding for 34 points on an assortment of unguardable and sometimes just plain stupid shots. Kevin Garnett also decided to rise out of his skeletal form and contribute 18 points and 14 rebounds, including several trademark Josh Smith-esque long twos. Brandon Jennings and Greg Monroe both had 18 for the Pistons in a rather demoralizing defeat, having fought back from as many as 14 down to take an 84-83 lead before a 17-2 run for Brooklyn (mostly Joe Johnson) sealed the game, 102-90.
The Pistons will be able to take some positives into this game. The return of Greg Monroe provides a more efficient source of offense as Andre Drummond works on his burgeoning, yet clumsy, post game and Josh Smith continues to infuriate by settling for numerous jumpers soon after. Brandon Jennings bounced back in the best way possible after his inconspicuous start to the season, logging more minutes vs. Brooklyn than in the opening two games combined. His 18 points was efficient for him (6-14), although his numbers were slightly ruined by the fact that the team was down and he had to jack up some contested threes late in the game. Also, the majority of his production came in the first quarter, and was I the only one to notice Jennings jawing at Garnett late in the game while he was taking foul shots? I can't find any evidence, but I could swear Jennings, who has a history with Garnett dating back to his Milwaukee days, said "cash money" before proceeding to thankfully, for his sake, knock down the shot.
New York enters the game after losing to Washington 98-83 at the Garden on Tuesday night. Iman Shumpert (19) and Carmelo Anthony (18) were the only players in Knicks uniforms to register double figures, although Amare Stoudemire grabbed 12 rebounds. It should also be noted that, and Kenneth Faried can take notes for when Denver meets New York, Melo was 8-23 from the field, a horrendously inefficient stat-line. He also finished with seven turnovers against only three assists. For the Wizards, the Knicks allowed perennial "he's still in the league?" all-star Garrett Temple to lead the Wizards with 17 along with Paul Pierce. Kevin Seraphin added 15.
The Knicks have started a confusing backcourt combination recently, opting for Shane Larkin and Iman Shumpert with J.R. Smith coming off the bench. My guess is -- and I haven't watched any Knicks games this season yet -- that Carmelo Anthony is the primary ball handler, as Larkin is really inexperienced and new to the team and Shumpert is a putrid ball-handler and distributor. J.R. Smith is their bench weapon, but he may be better served starting as a de facto point guard. Either way, it gives Smith an opportunity to come up against weaker opposition in bench rotations.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Brandon Jennings
#$WAG finally found his relative groove against Brooklyn, and will be looking to continue in that vein against New York. One thing working in his advantage is that he is likely going up against an average-at-best defender in Shane Larkin. Jennings has an opportunity to be aggressive and look for his offense early by attacking the paint to rack up both points and assists by virtue of drive and dish/dump. Larkin appears to be a good athlete, but Jennings is a veteran in the league in comparison and one of the better ball handlers. He could provide a tough matchup for the sophomore guard out of Miami (FL).
Knicks: Amare Stoudemire
STAT has been playing well so far this season, especially defensively, according to our good friends over at Posting and Toasting. However, his true value is on the offensive end, and the Pistons' struggles against stretch big men so far this season have been well documented. Kenneth Faried, Thaddeus Young, and Kevin Garnett have all murdered the Pistons with midrange jumpshots which we fail to defend, and Amare is a known danger from that area (in certain spots). Josh Smith and Greg Monroe will have to be alert at all times when guarding pick and roll/pop sets with Amare.
Last Time We Met
We last met the Knickerbockers on March 3, when we won 96-85 at The Palace. Andre Drummond exploded this game, going for 17 points and 26 rebounds. Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum both added 16 off the bench and Josh Smith contributed 15. Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 28 points while Tyson Chandler pulled down a measly 18 rebounds. Brandon Jennings had 11 dimes.
The Knicks, sitting at .500, have been up and down so far this season. They looked really good in their win against Cleveland, spoiling the LeBron homecoming international drama, but they played terribly in their opener against Chicago. They are still learning their triangle offense and the Pistons caused them fair trouble last season. That being said, I don't want to predict a win because I'm scared I'll jinx it. Oh well.
Pistons 91, Knicks 83
Game notes indicate a change to the starters is unlikely, there are reports that Smith may start at SF for defensive purposes on Anthony. So we'll go with that, considering how Singler got absolutely murdered by Iso Joe.
Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Smith, Monroe, Drummond
Knicks: Larkin, Shumpert, Anthony, Stoudemire, Dalembert
Pistons: Meeks (back), Martin (foot - questionable)
Knicks: Acy (wrist), Calderon (calf), Bargnani (hamstring)
Will Smith get the start on Anthony, and how will he fare if he does?