With tonight’s matchup against Chicago Bulls, The Detroit Pistons enter the last stretch of the 2020-21 season. They will play them all at home with a fair amount of off days in between, which should help their squad full of intriguing youngsters, whose performance at this stage of their careers might be disrupted by schedule difficulties. However, there will be no rest tonight as Detroit will play on the second night of the back-to-back. On the other hand, Motown welcomed many of their vets into their lineup yesterday against Sixers in Philadelphia, so their young hoopers shouldn’t be overburdened by the first night of the back-to-back assuming the vets sit out.
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +9
The Bulls are still fighting for their play-in lives, and there is a little chance that they can leap the Charlotte Hornets, which would be helpful as Detroit owns the Hornets’ second-round pick. Chicago won all previous meetings between the two teams, but for this plot to be realized it’d require Bulls to win out and the Hornets to lose out in their remaining games. Historically, Motor City fans aren’t too keen to wish anything good for Windy City, but in these circumstances and taking into account that it’s also against the interests of the ultimate (former) Bull in Hornets owner Michael Jordan so… (ehhh, I just can’t root for the Bulls even now).
Auspiciously, the Illinois team seems to be determined to make a push toward winning it out. They’re playing all their important pieces, still trying to figure out what they have in their newly formed core of Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic as the two have played only 10 games together since the trade to bring Vucevic over from Orlando. Since being able to play them anew, the team won easily against clubs they’re in contest for play-in seeding, Hornets and Celtics.
Now they’ll face a Detroit team that might be again tempted to use its veterans. In their last game – mentioned first game of back-to-back in the City of Brotherly Love – Motown played 10 players, both younglings and veterans, around 20 minutes, so they all should not be too tired to go if needed.
On the flip side, due to Sekou Doumbouya continuing to play very well, Deividas Sirvydis emerging with a good game of his own, the other night Dwane Casey needed to limit Tyler Cook’s playing time to less than two minutes. With Mason Plumlee back in the lineup, between him and Isaiah Stewart there wasn’t too much playing time for Jahlil Okafor, who two nights before showed he still has something left in the tank. With Killian Hayes back in the roster, between him and Cory Joseph there wasn’t enough time for Saben Lee. And there are still Josh Jackson and Hamidou Diallo, who didn’t play against Sixers and might be now ready to do so.
Yep, managing playing time of so many promising players in what prima facie looks like a stretch of meaningless games will have a significant meaning for the franchise’s future. I can imagine that Dwane Casey and Co. will work on this until last minutes before the game, so please do not put too much meaning to the starting lineup of the good guys I wrote. The thing is no matter who will play for the Pistons, it should be fun.
Detroit Pistons (20-48)
Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart
Chicago Bulls (28-39)
Coby White, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Daniel Theis, Nikola Vucevic
Have a good game fellow DBBers!!! They do have a meaning.