The Detroit Pistons need to right the ship heading into 2019. They had their first shot against the eight-win Atlanta Hawks and blew it in too many ways to recount. Next up is the similarly expensive and soul-sucking Washington Wizards. The Wizards are like the Pistons but extra. Players even more overpaid, confidence slightly and all the more irrationally higher and with even fewer young assets. They also might be a better team, I have no idea. Let’s watch some basketball!
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
The Wizards don’t rebound, don’t defend and can’t win on the road. That seems like a recipe for an actual Pistons victory. But if Detroit fans have learned anything in the past month, it is that there is never any reason, EVER, to be confident about this team.
The Wizards do have offensive weapons, after all, and they are the kinds that typically give the Pistons fits. A slashing, athletic point guard in John Wall who Reggie Jackson, et al, will likely have difficulty staying in front of. They also have Bradley Beal who can score in multiple ways and might be the best player on the court. The Wizards also play aggressive (too aggressive) defense, overplaying passing lanes and getting handsy. While that can often lead to broken down defense and easy scoring opportunities for the opponent, when it works (and it often does against the Pistons) it can lead to easy transition buckets and a demoralized opponent.
The Pistons will need to dominate on the boards against the Wizards, and Andre Drummond should be in line for another 20-20 type night against an undersized Washington team. The Wizards are the worst rebounding team on the road in the NBA, securing just 1.75 Drummonds worth of caroms.
The Wizards are also just absolutely dreadful on defense on the road, ranking better than only the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns away from home. That is great news to an offense that needs to find some secure footing. And I could go for a vintage Blake Griffin game tonight.
Griffin seems to be wearing down with all of the physical and mental load on his shoulders. In his past five games, Blake is averaging 23.6 points but shooting just 45 percent from the floor and a paltry 30 percent from 3 on six attempts per game. His turnovers are also nearing five per game in that span.
Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Jeff Green, Trevor Ariza, Thomas Bryant
Question of the Game
What is the best thing you received or gave for Christmas?