Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
When: Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m. ET
The Pistons are 1-2 after putting a royal smackdown on Greg Monroe and the Bucks, 117-88, with Marcus Morris finishing with 21 points on 8-10 shooting. It was the first game where the Pistons really looked like a proper Van Gundy team, with scorching ball movement and hot three-point shooting early, exemplified by a 37-point first quarter. Morris wasn't the only hot Piston though, with seemingly half the squad getting into double digits in scoring -- Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond (17), Stanley Johnson (15), Reggie Bullock (14), and KCP and Spencer Dinwiddie (10).
In fairness, the only starter who has struggled so far in an extended capacity is Ersan Ilyasova, and that's mainly been on the defensive end. He's gotten good looks in the flow of the offense, but has not been able to capitalize. Perhaps he has just run out of steam after a long summer competing with Turkey, and that could play into Van Gundy's decision to start Stanley Johnson in his place tonight.
The Pacers are 2-1 this preseason after downing the Magic 97-92 five days ago. After losing to New Orleans, they've put on some decent performances, but could perhaps be accused of being over-reliant on Paul George. In fairness, the last game was easily George's worst, going just 4-14 for 13 points. He was saved by Glenn Robinson III and C.J. Miles who each scored 14, with Monta Ellis adding 12. George Hill sat the game out after injuring his ankle against the Pistons at The Palace, and there's a chance he'll be rested again tonight.
Players to Watch
Pistons: Stanley Johnson starts his first game in the NBA "proper" tonight, coming in at small forward and pushing Morris down to power forward, with Ilyasova dropping to the bench. This may be to see how Morris can handle Paul George defensively after Ilyasova struggled mightily, but it's also a good chance for Johnson to showcase his talents in an extended role. He should be able to bully the smaller C.J. Miles, but the bench unit's offense may struggle in his absence as a ball handler.
Pacers: Paul George, duh.
-- Rodney Stuckey is the only former Piston on the Pacers roster
-- Glenn Robinson III played collegiate ball at The University of Michigan
-- Shayne Whittington is a native of Paw Paw, MI, and played collegiate ball at Western Michigan
-- Chase Budinger was drafted in 2009 by Detroit, but instantly traded on draft night
-- Danny Granger is the only former Pacer technically on the Pistons
George Hill is doubtful, and the Pistons are coming in with momentum after a strong win against a good team. Forgive my optimism.
Pistons 103, Pacers 98
Pistons: Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Johnson, Morris, Drummond
Pacers: Stuckey, Ellis, Miles, George, Mahinmi
Pistons: Baynes (ankle - chance to play), Blake (concussion), Thomas (Achilles), Jennings (Achilles), Granger (MIA)
Pacers: Hill (ankle)
How does the Stanimal exploit his matchup?