After opening its road trip with a frustrating loss in Chicago to the Bulls on Friday, the Detroit Pistons will continue to move west tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Pistons’ defense was ripped to shreds in the loss, mainly by Zach LaVine, who may have scored the easiest 43 points you’ll see this season.
And their reward? A date with Anthony Edwards, who just had 30 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +8
Defense continues to be the single biggest pain point for Detroit.
Luckily, they head to Minnesota to face a Wolves team down both of its twin towers in Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. KAT is dealing with a calf injury while Gobert missed Friday’s game due to an illness.
That might be a bad thing for the Pistons as a number of Minnesota players seem to do better when Gobert isn’t around.
His fit with the team hasn’t been seamless, but with Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart playing big minutes against the Bulls on Friday, Gobert returning would make things increasingly difficult for the Pistons.
The main challenge, though, is the Wolves’ guards.
Edwards has averaged 20 points per game in four previous matchups with the Pistons, and has put up 23.5 per game overall this season..
If the defense tonight is anything like it was in Chicago, Edwards should have no problem topping either of those numbers as it seems like every guard and wing on this roster is incapable of locking in defensively. It’s like watching a bunch of matadors in a bull fight.
As the gambler around here, I’ve got to throw out a bet idea. When the books open lines today, search around for Anthony Edwards 40+ Points. After seeing LaVine do what he did, it wouldn’t shock me if Ant did the same tonight.
D’Angelo Russell and Jaylen Nowell are the others who could be in line for big nights. Russell isn't the same caliber of scorer he was a few years ago, but he’s still a good 3-point shooter who can put pressure on a defense as a shot creator for others.
One of those “others” is Nowell — a breakout player last year who’s emergence made trading Malik Beasley easier in the Gobert trade. He has continued to be a really nice scorer this season, averaging 11.4 points per game. His shooting percentage is down from 3-point range this year, but he’s capable of 20 points off the bench on any given night.
The Pistons offense didn’t look like it missed much without Killian Hayes against the Bulls, but as he serves the second game of his three-game suspension, somebody has to step up defensively for Detroit to survive the start to this road trip.
Losing this one could snowball things with upcoming road games against the Portland Trailblazers and Golden State Warriors.
Detroit Pistons (9-29)
Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Minnesota Timberwolves (16-20)
D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Kyle Anderson, Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid
Question of the Day
Put yourself in Dwane Casey’s shoes: How do you fix the Pistons perimeter defensive issues?