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Pistons vs. Spurs preview: Pistons look to bounce back after first game without Reggie Jackson

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Unlike the last time these two teams matched up, the Spurs will likely have Kawhi Leonard

NBA: Detroit Pistons at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Ish Smith’s first start this season at point guard got off to a rough start, as the Pistons were run off the court by an Orlando Magic team on a nine-game losing streak. The Pistons will now look to bounce back against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs are close to full-strength now that Kawhi Leonard is back, although they will be without Rudy Gay, who injured his heel during their last game. This is the last game of 2017 for the Pistons, who will look to end 2017 on a high note.

Game Vitals

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI

When: Saturday Dec. 30, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. EST

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Analysis

The last time these two teams faced each other was Dec. 4, right in the middle of the Pistons’ seven-game losing streak. The Pistons narrowly lost the game, 96-93, after being outscored 27-20 in the fourth quarter.

The Pistons were led by Reggie Jackson in the last matchup, who had 27 points. They will need someone to step up and replace that production in this game.

A big factor in this game that was not present in the last matchup is Kawhi Leonard. Although he is still coming back from injury and likely will be on a minutes restriction, he is going to be a problem for the Pistons, as he would be for any other team. The Pistons will probably try to match up Stanley Johnson with him as much as they can, but I’m not sure how much that is going to matter.

Due to Stanley Johnson’s deficiencies on offense, this should allow the Spurs to cross-match Leonard with Tobias Harris, and shut down the Pistons biggest scoring threat.

Anthony Tolliver started the last time these two teams played, in order to match up with the Spurs size, who start a frontline of Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Stan Van Gundy pull Tolliver early and let Tobias Harris do his best on Aldridge in order to get Stanley Johnson in the game on Kawhi Leonard.

Ish Smith will also get his second start of the season in place of Reggie Jackson. The Spurs are an older team who play slow, so they could have some issues if the Pistons can get some stops on defense and let Ish Smith get out in transtion.

One final thing the Pistons have going for them is that the Spurs will be without Rudy Gay, who was injured during their last game. He is a player who always seems to have big games against the Pistons (he came up with the game-sealing offensive rebound the last time these teams played), so it will be nice to not have that threat off the Spurs’ bench.

Projected Starters

Pistons: Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock, Tobias Harris, Anthony Tolliver, Andre Drummond

Spurs: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol

Community Question

How concerned are you with the Pistons point guard situation? Do you want the team to roll with what they have, get a stopgap, or shoot for the fences for a new starter?

Poll

How should the Pistons resolve the point guard situation?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Ish/Langston
    (18 votes)
  • 28%
    Stopgap trade/signing
    (22 votes)
  • 48%
    Trade for a new starter
    (38 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now