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Pistons v Pacers preview: What to look for in Indiana

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The Pistons hit the road (and ESPN) for a chance to improve their postseason chances.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If you were born in late 2016 (*glances in direction of #GulkerBaby*), tonight is the biggest Pistons’ game of your young life. For everyone else, it’s a game you should be looking forward to watching.

The Pistons are a single game behind the Pacers for the Eastern Conference’s No. 6 seed. Tonight, they look to tie up the standings on the road in Indiana.

The Pacers aren’t playing their best ball of the season, going 3-9 in their last 12 games. However, Indiana holds a 3-0 season series lead on Detroit. Paul George is still the man, Myles Turner is going to take Andre Drummond out his comfort zone defensively, and Jeff Teague will test Reggie Jackson’s ball stopping ability.

It won’t be easy, but it could be fun.

Game Vitals

When: March 8th at 8 p.m. EST

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, Indiana

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit; ESPN

Analysis

Here’s 5 talking points to look out for, share at the watercooler and/or to impress your significant other:

Paul George coming off screens:

Above, George initiates action by setting a decoy screen for C.J Miles. Don’t be fooled, this particular play is for George. Once Miles clears, the real off-ball screen is placed and sets up an easy PG13 knockdown.

Coming off screens is a prominent part of George’s game and teams know this. To counter, George will use will the screener for a roll or a pop:

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Andre Drummond defending Myles Turner outside of the paint:

We are all well aware of Drummond’s hesitancy to chase shooting bigs; he’s getting better, but it’s still a work in progress. There is no room for thinking, only reading and reacting accordingly will shut down a shooter. Above, Dre’s reluctance to fully commit to Turner ends with a Pacers bucket.

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Per Synergy, C.J Miles’ PPP in a spot up is 1.409, which is insanely effective. Of qualified players that mark is only bested by Kyle Korver.

Miles will stay in his lane and pull the trigger only if the situation calls for it. 80 percent (!) of his buckets are assisted, and he feasts off George and Jeff Teague’s penetration.

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In the PNR, Jeff Teague’s derived PPP (which combines a ball handler’s offense and his passing) sits at .997, which puts him in some pretty good company.

Don’t be surprised to see Teague snake or split the PNR. He’s ultra quick and isn’t afraid to show it:

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Great point by Rod Beard. According to NBA Twitter, the point guard position in Detroit is somewhat in flux, but Reggie Jackson can put an end to any and all speculation with consistency.

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Projected Lineups

Detroit

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

Indiana

Jeff Teague, C.J Miles, Myles Turner, Paul George, Thaddeus Young

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Prediction

Win or lose, the season won’t end tonight. It sure would be nice, though, to earn a road win against a team in a similar situation on national television.

Pistons 106, Pacers 101