clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pistons vs. Nets Preview: Early gauntlet continues with rematch against Nets

The Pistons will debut their City Edition uniforms tonight against Kevin Durant, James Harden and the Nets

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons are an encapsulation of the old saying, “no rest for the weary.”

They’re 1-7 and have played the second-hardest schedule in the NBA. You could argue that six of those games, including tonight, have come against teams with realistic expectations of competing for a Finals berth.

It’s been rough. Not because of the losses, the losses, as we learned last year, are #good. It’s the fact that they’ve gotten their doors blown off in half of these games, and the ones they have hung around, they’ve done so in a not-so-aesthetically-pleasing style.

Tonight they host the Nets, so, yeah, buckle up.

Game Vitals

When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit or NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +10.5

Analysis

The Nets appear to be finding their stride after an inconsistent start to the season.

Following at 13-point loss to Miami, Brooklyn has rattled off three straight wins, including a 117-91 win over the Pistons on Halloween.

Kevin Durant has been Kevin Durant, scoring and rebounding at an elite level. He’s a mismatch for every team in the league, and poured in 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting against the Pistons before getting ejected for an elbow to Kelly Olynyk’s face.

James Harden hasn’t quite been himself yet. His numbers are down across the board as he adjusts to the NBA’s new officiating rules. That said, he’s still good for 18-9-9 every night and is hitting a career-best 40% from 3-point range.

I’m interested to see how the Pistons matchup defensively. Killian Hayes and Harden seem destined to tango all night, while Jerami Grant probably gets the majority of time trying to contain Durant. Cade Cunningham is another big wing with smarts who’ll get a shot at both.

It’ll be good to see how he handles his first true star matchup defensively.

The rest of the Nets are just kind of doing their thing. LaMarcus Aldridge has been a revelation for them this year and should have his way with the Pistons front court from the low and high post, while the Joe Harris-Patty Mills combo can explode from downtown at any time.

Blake Griffin is still around as he returns to Detroit for the second time. I wonder how hard he’ll get booed? If at all. Either way, he’s looking like he’s been suplexed by Father Time at this point.

The thing about the Pistons is that they’re gonna hit shots eventually. It’s going to be one of those ho-lee-crap kind of games, too. I don’t know if tonight will be the night, but this is a team with the talent to explode for 15-18 makes from downtown.

That’s what you need to beat teams like the Nets.

I’d settle for Cade having a solid game where he sees some of his shots fall. Last night was encouraging in that the shot was still off but he made it happen for himself by getting to the free throw line.

I’m also excited to see the continuation of Hayes’ early shooting success. He’s still got a lot of work to do inside the arc, but after another good showing (2-for-3) from deep last night, maybe we’ve finally seen a breakthrough for him.

Respectable 3-point shooting from Hayes would go a long way toward opening up this Pistons’ offense.

Projected Lineups

Brooklyn Nets (5-3)

James Harden, Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin

Detroit Pistons (1-7)

Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

Aside from “make open shots” what can the Pistons do better on the offensive end to open things up tonight?