The Pistons and Knicks both raised eyebrows to open the season as lottery teams last season who could vie for the playoffs this year. In fact, the Knicks might have improved even more than the Pistons - they've almost already reached last year's win total of 17 victories.
The Pistons head to New York on a bit of a sour note, losing two straight in lackluster performances. The losses came after a stretch where Detroit had won 9 of their past 12. But the Knicks present an opportunity for Detroit to get back on track.
As much as the Pistons have shown a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde persona so far this season, the Knicks have been even more dramatic about it. In accumulating their 14-18 record, they've already had two 4-game win streaks and three 4-game losing streaks. They're in the middle of one of those losing streaks now, with another of each of those streaks prior. So they come into tonight's game having won just 4 of their last 12.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: FS Detroit Plus
While the Knicks certainly added a considerable amount of talent around Carmelo Anthony over the offseason, at this point they are still Melo & Co. After a hot start to open the season, Kristaps Porzingis has struggled mightily in his past 10 games, shooting just 31 percent for 10 points per game.
Arron Afflalo is the only other Knick to join Anthony and Porzingis in averaging double-digit scoring. If you enjoy high scoring basketball games, be glad that you're not a fan of the Knicks (well, that among many other additional reasons). They're 23rd in the league in points per game. But Derek Fisher does at least have them playing respectable defense this season, allowing the 11th fewest points per game to opponents.
They're a slow paced offense that doesn't score much and can come up with some stops. So that'll typically make for some low-scoring affairs.
The Pistons have shown the ability to put up points despite the opposition, but that hasn't been the case the past two games as their offense has sputtered. As Ryan, Prava88, wrote in his links yesterday, ball movement continues to be a major issue, particularly for the starters. They've also been miserable at the line, led by an increase in Hack-a-Dre as of late.
Tonight may be the night for Brandon Jennings though, as Stan Van Gundy officially declared him good to go. It remains to be seen if he gets in ahead of Steve Blake, who has played better as of late, but Jennings' return should be any time now.
Marcus Morris vs. Carmelo Anthony
Morris will likely draw the Knicks' star player defensively, but he's been bringing some offensive firepower of his own as of late. In the last two games, Marcus has averaged 19 points on 57 percent true shooting and has generally just looked in the zone. Making Melo work on the defensive end could help neutralize the Knicks' only real offensive weapon.
Last Time We Met
April 15, 2015 - Pistons 112, Knicks 90
20,000 fans showed up at Madison Square Garden to watch the Pistons blow out a tanking Knicks team in the season finale.
Here's to the Pistons getting back on track: 112-95
Pistons: Reggie Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond
Knicks: Jose Calderon, Afflalo, Anthony, Porzingis, Robin Lopez
As Zinto wrote in the FanPosts, ESPN analysts have Porzingis as the number two ranked rookie for potential with no mention of Stanley Johnson. If you had your choice, any chance you'd take Porzingis over Johnson?