The second game of the Detroit Pistons’ five-game home stand sees a familiar face come to Little Caesars Arena in the form of the Indiana Pacers. Indiana has struggled to begin the year, but has surged a little by winning two of their last three, including a road victory over the Utah Jazz.
Detroit looks to stem the tide after a rough effort against the Sacramento Kings where number one overall pick Cade Cunningham was the lone bright spot.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
When: 7 p.m. ET
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +6.5
The Pacers enter the game with a roughly league-average offense and defense while the Pistons rank bottom six in both categories. If Detroit is going to change that, at least for one night, they’ll need strong play from their young perimeter players.
Strong perimeter play will be necessary because, frankly, the Pistons aren’t likely to have much of an answer for the Pacers’ bigs. Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner provide a unique size issue for a depleted Detroit frontcourt.
Among the starters, Detroit can probably withstand the Indiana bigs out of the gate. Isaiah Stewart has been a terrific rim protector to begin the year and will likely draw the assignment of containing Sabonis’ interior game while Jerami Grant can focus on Turner, who shoots over half of his attempts from behind the long line.
The one saving grace for the Pistons may be that the Pacers shoot the third fewest free throws per 100 possessions in the league. Stewart’s foul troubles have been an issue lately, but they figure to be less prominent against a team that doesn’t typically get to the charity stripe.
Along the perimeter, Detroit will look to its developing backcourt in Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes to provide some help. The young duo has been very good defensively and that will need to continue against Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert, both of whom can score in bunches.
On the other end of the floor, Hayes and Cunningham will need to punish the offensive-minded Pacers backcourt if the Pistons have any chance to win.
Cunningham is coming off a career-high 25 points against Sacramento where he shot well from deep and also varied his game a bit more to keep the Kings’ defense off-balance. Even when he shoots well from deep, you would like to see him use the threat of his shot to get to the paint more often for a Pistons team that desperately needs it.
Myles Turner will be a formidable test for Cunningham when he does get to the paint. Turner is an elite rim protector and will be a good measuring stick for how well Cade can finish at the rim against such a defender.
The Pistons will also look for help along the wing in the form of Saddiq Bey. The sophomore from Villanova had perhaps his best game against the Kings, scoring 28 points on four of nine shooting from deep. Given how rough his start to the season has been, consecutive strong games could do wonders for his confidence on top of giving his team a better chance to win.
Indiana Pacers (6-9)
Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Detroit Pistons (3-10)
Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart
Question of the Game
Will Hamidou Diallo see the court before garbage time after a solid nine minutes against the Kings?