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Pistons vs. Pacers preview: Detroit faces a struggling Indiana looking to snap four-game losing streak

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Not sure what to make of this Pacers team, to be honest

Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons are looking for its first winning streak of the season, and they might just get it against a struggling Indiana Pacers team. The Pacers have lost four in a row and will be on the second night of a back-to-back. Both teams are coming off games against the Brooklyn Nets. Whereas Detroit was able to score 122 points and shoot a season-high 56% against the Nets in a win, Indiana scuffled in a 104-94 loss shooting just 39% from the floor.

Game Vitals

When: 8 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +2

Analysis

It’s hard to make sense of this Indiana Pacers team who have scuffled to a 12-13 start to the season after its four game nose dive of late. The team traded away its offensive engine in Victor Oladipo and are without Caris LeVert while he recovers from a kidney issue and are without TJ Warren, a versatile wing who contributes reliably on offense.

They are built around two bigs in the pretty amazing Domantas Sabonis and the defensive stalwart Myles Turner. They struggle in key phases of the game — they are a terrible rebounding team, especially for one built around big men, they struggle to get to the free-throw line and they are one of the stingiest offenses when it comes to hoisting from behind the 3-point line.

Another surprise — they struggle to protect the paint. Turner is good for 3.5 blocks per game and is a capable defender, but the Pacers allow 47.8 points in the paint per game. It’s not because people are finding tons of success. Indiana is second-best in the NBA at field goal percentage allowed in the restricted area, but they allow the most shots there in the NBA. It’s fine being No. 3, but that still means giving up a 58.9% clip. They, puzzlingly, absolutely take away the mid-range that most teams hope you’ll shoot from and give up some of the most looks at the corners behind the perimeter in the NBA.

It’s just not all coming together for the Pacers this season, it seems. Still, if I had to put money on it in these legalized gambling times of ours, I’d still say Mason Plumlee and Detroit’s big men are going to struggle mightily. I imagine a few Turner blocks that make Plumlee look two steps slow.

However, it seems like this might be a game where Detroit’s guards could go off — particularly the aggressive Josh Jackson and perhaps the sometimes too tentative Delon Wright. We also might have our first game from newest Piston Dennis Smith Jr. His attacking style could go extremely well or extremely poorly off the bench against the Pacers.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (6-18)

Delon Wright, Wayne Ellington, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee

Indiana Pacers (12-13)

Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis

Question of the Game

Who should the Pacers trade Myles Turner to assuming he’s very much on the trade block?