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Spurs vs Pistons preview: Leonard, Spurs pay their last visit to Auburn Hills

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The Spurs are one of the top teams (again) but anything can happen on George Blaha Night.

NBA: Preseason-San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons flexed their muscles against the less-than 76ers and Lakers earlier in the week and are winners in four of their last five games. So I ask:

Who’s next?

Who wants a piece?

Anyone?

Um, besides you. Anyone, say in Brooklyn, want a piece of the Pistons?

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Game Vitals

When: February 10th at 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

DBB gushed over Kawhi Leonard’s defense earlier this year so lets take a peak into his offense.

In short, he’s awesome, but particularity awesome in two distinct play types: as a spot up shooter and as a ball handler in the pick and roll.

Spot up

Considering this draft day scouting report, seeing Leonard as one of the most efficient shooters in the game is nothing short of amazing.

Spot ups are usually created via ball handling penetration or from a strong post presence. In both situations, the defense reacts with either a rotation or double team which inevitably leaves someone open. If that someone is Kawhi, you’re in trouble:

As a whole, the San Antonio Spurs are the best spot shooting team in the NBA (per Synergy Sports) at 1.116 points per possession.

Pick and roll

First, Jahlil Okafor and Philadelphia defend the P&R similar to Detroit’s tendencies. If given that much room, Leonard is going to knock down that shot more times than not.

Against Cleveland - and a hard show - Leonard’s patience and outright skill are on full display as even with solid defense by Iman Shumpert, Kawhi raises and nails the jumper.

Last, as Denver big man Nikola Jokic begins to slide over to the screened side, Kawhi goes the opposite direction on his way to the cup. What Jokic did (pre-slide) is something that Andre Drummond gets burned on too:

There is nothing wrong with committing to take away the screened side BUT at this level (and even in the driveway) you’ve got to expect players to take advantage of the clear opening and put yourself in a non flat-footed position to react.

At 1.06 PPP, Leonard is one of the most efficient pick and roll scorers in the league.

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If I’m forced to poke holes in the Spurs defense, it’s their ability to defend the roll man and thankfully, we’ve got a pretty good one.

In their earlier meeting, the Reggie Jackson-less Pistons were led by Drummond and his 8-10 shooting including these rolling finishes:

If all else fails, he can always rely on the step back jumper too:

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Projected Lineups

San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Danny Green, Dewayne Deadmon, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard

Detroit

Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Andre Drummond, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer

* stay tuned to the game thread for last minute Spurs’ resting

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Prediction

On George Blaha night, the Pistons take down the Spurs!

Blaha has been doing this for 40 years? That’s insane. He’s the only Piston voice I’ve known.

Spurs 104, Pistons 109