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Pistons vs Kings preview: Detroit faces porous Sacramento defense

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The Pistons must keep the hot-and-cold Kings freezing tonight

Sacramento Kings v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Coming off a road back-to-back against the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Pelicans, the Detroit Pistons return home to start a two-game mini homestand against the Sacramento Kings. For the Kings, this is the final game of brutal five-game eastern conference swing - and their final opportunity to get a win on the trip.

Game Vitals:

When: Friday, February 26th, 2021, 8 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +1.0

Analysis:

The Kings are STREAKY. Led by almost-but-not-quite-an-All-Star De’Aaron Fox, they started off the month of February hot, winning six out of seven. Now, though, it is the end of February, and Sacramento has lost it’s last NINE games in a row. That has, understandably, been frustrating for them:

The genesis of a lot of Sacramento’s issues this season are on the defensive end. Despite being tenths of a point in ORtg away from being a top-10 offense, the Kings have been the worst defense in the NBA by leagues. Sacremento’s DRtg of 118.7 is almost two full points worse than the second-worst defense in the NBA (the Portland Trail Blazers, at 116.0). It’s not hard to understand why - the Kings’ defense is “anchored” by Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III, both of whom are known more for their offense, and Fox and Buddy Hield have long been a poor defensive tandem. Mix in that personnel with a defensive scheme that seems to produce a ton of over-rotating, and you get, well, you get this:

Yeah, so, hopefully the Pistons can score a lot of points tonight.

The individual who hopefully will be most responsible for a lot of Detroit’s bucket-gettin’ tonight is Jerami Grant. Grant had the night off on Wednesday, so hopefully he’s feeling refreshed and ready to attack the porous Sacramento defense. I’ve mentioned this on all of my podcasts, but Grant has struggled lately as the primary option for the Pistons; it would be great if he was the benefit of some of Sacramento’s miscommunication and able to get some early, easy buckets to regain some rhythm.

Or get some more calls. Let Jerami shoot free throws, refs! Cmon!

Last, but certainly not least, Pistons fans are going to keep the spotlight on rookie point guard Saben Lee. Lee, who’s averaging a tidy 15 points, three rebounds, and four assists this week on 64% from the floor and 80% (!!) from three, has been a much needed spark after Delon Wright went down with a groin strain. Lee’s athleticism should help him make the most of the opportunities the Kings are sure to present him. That is the nicest way I could think of to say I hope Saben finally flushes one down in Hassan Whiteside’s face and the Pistons get a big SportsCenter moment.

Projected Lineups:

Detroit Pistons (9-23):
Dennis Smith Jr., Wayne Ellington, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

Sacramento Kings (12-20):
De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes

Question of the Game:

How many free throws does Jerami Grant shoot tonight?