The Pistons bring momentum and good vibes back with them to the Detroit metropolitan area after a strong showing against the Hawks in Atlanta. The second night of a back to back means Stan Van Gundy may lean on the bench a little more, a day after playing Drummond, KCP and Morris 37 minutes each. Get ready for some more Bangers, and hopefully some minutes for Reggie Bullock.
The Jazz sport a throwback jumbo frontcourt of Derrick Favors and Rudy "Stifle Tower" Gobert, both players who could really break out this season.
The Pistons narrowly lost both games against the Jazz last season, though the first game heavily featured Brandon Jennings and the second saw Andre Drummond receive only 10 minutes of playing time, so it's unclear how much can be gleaned from either contest.
The teams look pretty evenly matched on paper, with opposing strengths (Jazz size, Pistons shooting) and weaknesses (Jazz lack of speed, Pistons lack of interior scoring) that should make for a good game.
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Pistons showed a cohesiveness in their attack against the Hawks that has been missing for years. There was the highly anticipated PnR with Reggie Jackson and Drummond. There was also a side helping of Marcus Morris post-ups. The entire team, minus a few ill-advised and rushed Drummond attempts, showed a willingness to be patient and find the open man. Those passes often came in the form of well-timed crosscourt kick-outs and ended as splashed 3-pointers.
Expect Utah to feature less scrambling on defense than Atlanta, as they have a rim protector in Gobert who should allow their perimeter defenders to stay at home, rather than the brand of help and recover defense we saw Tuesday night.
The Jazz have built their offense around Gordon Hayward, and he may pose a matchup problem for the Pistons. As an oversized shooting guard, he has a few inches and a significant number of pounds on KCP or Jodie Meeks. Hayward's creativity with the ball in his hands and his size make him a tough cover, but my guess/hope is Van Gundy kept Reggie Bullock on the roster for this exact type of matchup. If Hayward gets going against KCP or Meeks, expect to see some Bullock as a defensive stopper.
With Dante Exum out for the season due to an ACL tear, the PG battle should favor the Pistons. Relentlessly focusing on Trey Burke in PnR's with Reggie Jackson seems the likely course of action, and it should work decently. Also making Hayward work hard on defense - either with off-ball movement from KCP/Meeks, or if Stanley Johnson is in, allowing him to run some PnR if Hayward is covering seems like a useful way to wear down the Jazz main offensive weapon.
Key Match-Up to Watch
Andre Drummond vs. Rudy Gobert
Andre is facing one of the few centers in the league who can match him physically. Gobert is longer and anticipates very well on defense, Dre is going to need to use his superior lower body strength to establish good rebounding position. He may want to save the baby hook shots for another match up and focus on crashing the offensive glass. If Dre can get Gobert into foul trouble, the Jazz defense should crack.
KCP or TREEEY BURKE? The debate continues... or not?