For now and forever in Pistons lore, the Spurs will be known as the opponents who caused the spawning of the magnificent Stanism, "Form a F-cking Wall." For this reason only, the Spurs should be presented with honorary #FAFW shirts at center court pre-game, and replica championship rings in June after the Pistons defeat Golden State in five games.
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
When: Wednesday Feb. 11, 2015, 7:30PM EST
Exceptionally Formed Analysis
The Pistons have been more hot and cold than Katy Perry recently. They demolished their nearest playoff rivals, the Charlotte Hornets, on Tuesday night in the form of a 28-point pounding, but the game before, meekly rolled over to a near league-worst Timberwolves squad. The Pistons were certainly helped last night by several absentees for Charlotte, with Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo all injured, and Mo Williams en route from Minnesota in a trade which saw Charlotte part with Gary Neal. Couple all these absentees with poor games from Al Jefferson (13 points on 14 shots) and Lance Stephenson (0/1 FG, 5 turnovers) and you got a Pistons annihilation.
Greg Monroe was the chief destroyer, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds. DJ Augustin added 18 points and five assists, while Andre Drummond had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Off the bench, strong games from Jodie Meeks (18 points, 10-10 FT) and Anthony Tolliver (16 points, 6-11 FG, 3-6 3PT) helped solidify the second unit. However, the most gratifying moment of the whole game was seeing the reincarnation of Gigi Datome the honeycomb with his presence. The #FreeGigi movement found its way into the headspace of Van Gundy, and Gigi played a whole 3:35, scoring 4 points (2-3 FG) and chipping in with three rebounds (one offensive) and an assist, A TRIPLE SINGLE!!!
However, this roster is not without problems. The wing play remains horribly inconsistent, as both Kyle Singler and KCP shot 2-6 from the floor, both in roughly 27 minutes of court time. Both have the ability to light it up, and fortunately, the rest of the starting unit were able to pick up the scoring slack. Rather refreshingly, they both contributed in other ways, with Singler grabbing 3 rebounds, dishing an assist and even blocking a shot (poor guy). KCP had 6 rebounds as well as 3 assists. But, the curious case of Jodie Meeks continues. Yes he had 18 points, and got to the line a lot (10-10), but his longball has deserted him. He shot 0-3 in Charlotte, and since the turn of the year has hit 20 of his 84 attempted threes, a 24 percent clip, after shooting 50 percent in December. This may be due to the fact that he is now playing with John Lucas III more in the second unit, and not D.J. Augustin. Lucas is not as good a passer as D.J., who in turn is not as good a passer as Brandon Jennings, and yet Meeks has been assisted on 95 percent of his threes. He needs some open looks to get his rhythm back.
The Spurs come into the matchup on the back of Coach Popovich's 1000th career win by beating Indiana 95-93. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 19 points and 6 assists while Tim Duncan added 15 and 8 rebounds. After faltering out of the gates, the Spurs have stabilized and now sit at 33-19. As we know, the Spurs don't typically get serious until April, and then charge on the back of their "well rested" veterans, and this year suggests it won't be any different.
Last Time We Met
Jan. 6, 2015, DET won 105-104 (season series 1-0 DET)
The whole game was basically in the last eight seconds. Everything up to that point was inconsequential. Patty Mills fumbled an inbounds pass from Tim Duncan with a one point lead, who the Pistons would certainly have fouled. Andre scooped it up, fed it to KCP, who then found Jennings. Jennings ran down the court and hit a shot he would hit 1 in 100 times, an off-balance left handed runner off the high glass. But it dropped, walls were formed, and the Pistons left the Alamo with a rare victory.
Players To Watch
Pistons: D.J. Augustin
I've noticed recently that D.J. struggles against point guards who don't allow penetration, which is why he's had such success against guys like Brian Roberts and Ty Lawson, but struggled against the length of Michael Carter-Williams. Tony Parker is bigger at 6'3" and a decent defender, but certainly not elite, given his age and declining athleticism. Patty Mills, the backup, is the same height as D.J. at 6'0" and is an irritant, much like J.J. Barea or Matthew Dellavedova.
Spurs: Kawhi Leonard
"The Claw" was out for the first matchup, but now is back and showing his Finals MVP form. The Spurs are infinitely better with him on the floor, and it's going to be another defensive adventure for Kyle Singler and co.
-- Pistons G D.J. Augustin played with Spurs C Jeff Ayres in Indiana in 2012-13
-- He also played with Spurs F Boris Diaw (2008-12) and G Reggie Williams (2011-12) in Charlotte
-- Pistons F Anthony Tolliver played in San Antonio in 2008-09
-- Spurs F Austin Daye was drafted 15th by Detroit in 2009, and averaged 5.6 points in 237 games from 2009-13
I hate to be the pessimist, but lightning doesn't strike twice. That and we've been awful in back to backs since Jennings went down.
Spurs 100, Pistons 93
Pistons: Augustin, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Monroe, Drummond
Spurs: Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan, Splitter
Pistons: Jennings (Achilles), Butler (old age), Martin (I dunno at this point)
Who would hit the game winner this time around?
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