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Pistons vs. Nuggets preview: Playing out the string

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Today might be game day, but that’s not why we’re here this week

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Today is Monday, and the Detroit Pistons have a game today. Maybe they win, maybe they don’t. The Pistons have another game Wednesday - maybe they win that one, maybe they don’t. It matters a little bit at this point, but Thursday is the pivotal day in this inexorable slog of a season.

Thursday, of course, is the NBA Trade Deadline, and will clue us fans in on how intelligently this team is going to be run for the next two-to-three years.

Not like that matters or anything.

Game Vitals:

When: February 4, 2019, 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars’ Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Analysis:

Denver might be down their starting backcourt:

That won’t matter a lick, because the Pistons only have one guard who can pressure a defense, and he’s the albatross contract they’re attempting to rid themselves of at the deadline. For what it’s even worth, Reggie Jackson even had perhaps his best game of the season Saturday against the Clippers:

But the guy whose been starting in place of Gary Harris for the Nuggets, Malik Beasley, had the game of his LIFE Friday against the Rockets:

Malik Beasley was taken one selection after Henry Ellenson in the 2016 NBA Draft, if you’d like to ram some red-hot pokers into your skull.

The Nuggets have won their last six games, are tied with the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference standings, and Nikola Jokic is playing at an All-NBA level. The Pistons are 4-6 in their last 10 games, ninth in the morass that is the middle third of the Eastern Conference standings, and Andre Drummond is making a fool of himself on Instagram over not being selected for the All-Star game.

These two teams are headed in opposite directions, nothing about the way the Pistons have played in the last week offers any insight into why they would even dream of winning this game, and at the time of this writing, the front office has sent out no signals to indicate that will change.

I (was? am?) bullish on this team for a long time. Thursday will be clarifying in that regard, one way or another, and that’s the only good thing that looks like it’ll come out of this week. We need a break from this team, this team needs a break from each other - the All-Star break can’t get here soon enough.

I’d say “Enjoy the Game,” but we both know that won’t happen.

Projected Lineups:

Detroit Pistons (22-29):
Reggie Jackson, Bruce Brown Jr., Reggie Bullock, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

Denver Nuggets (37-15):
Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Will Barton, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic

Prediction:

Denver 129, Detroit 103