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Pistons vs Wizards preview: Watch out for Davis Bertans

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The Wizards are injured on the frontline, but still have their stretch-big sniper

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Washington Wizards bring the fourth-highest ORTG in the league to Detroit to take on your Detroit Pistons, who have won five of their last seven games. The Wizards have already beaten the Pistons once this season, so Detroit cannot afford to take this team lightly.

Game Vitals:

When: December 16th, 2019, 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Analysis:

Injuries probably tell the tale of tonight’s game.

Washington is really banged up right now - Thomas Bryant is out with a stress reaction in his foot, Moritz Wagner sat out on Saturday with a left ankle sprain, and Isaiah Thomas has missed the last five games with a calf strain. Without Bryant and Wagner, the Wizards have had to resort to Ian Mahinmi in the starting lineup. Fortunately for the Pistons, Mahinmi was killed by Brandon Clarke on Saturday:

Woof.

The Pistons are still without Reggie Jackson and Khyri Thomas, and should be without Blake Griffin, as DBB’s own Ku Khahil said in his piece yesterday. Andre Drummond did not play Detroit’s last game against Houston because of what the Detroit News’ Rod Beard has termed “Eye-vacado,” but Dre was literally on the bench, in uniform, so I’d expect him to be available tonight.

As mentioned, Washington has the fourth-best ORTG in the league, which, when you look at the roster, doesn’t appear to make much sense. Aside from Bradley Beal, who else on this Wizards team is consistently giving teams buckets? DAVIS MF’ING BERTANS, that’s who:

Bertans has been a flamethrower for the Wizards, scoring 15 points a night off the bench, and shooting a blistering 45% from three on eight (!!) attempts a game. You know who else shot that high a percentage from three on that great a volume? Steph Curry. During his MVP year:

Obviously, Bertans isn’t going to be the unanimous MVP, but that should tell you a little something about how well he’s played to start the year. The Pistons have perpetually struggled to guard stretch big men over the last few years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bertans have a big night tonight, especially if a good chunk of his minutes come with Thon Maker on the floor.

Projected Starters:

Detroit Pistons (11-15):
Bruce Brown Jr., Luke Kennard, Tony Snell, Markieff Morris, Andre Drummond

Washington Wizards (7-17):
Ish Smith, Bradley Beal, Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura, Ian Mahinmi

Stray Thoughts:

  • Tony Snell had seven shots last game, and Dwane Casey called out his aggressiveness of late in the postgame presser. Keep shooting, Tony!
  • Detroit plays five out of their next six games at home, and then heads on their longest road trip of the season, a six-game west coast swing through the end of December and beginning of January. Detroit needs to win a home game we wouldn’t project them to (Toronto? Philadelphia?) to stay in this playoff hunt.
  • Standings-wise, don’t look now, but the Pistons are up to sole possession of ninth, and just a game behind the Orlando Magic for that eighth spot.