The Detroit Pistons enter the seventh-to-last game of the season controlling their own destiny in a less traditional way. With 75 games played, the Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Orlando Magic all have 20 wins with Orlando having a current edge with one extra loss. So, if Detroit loses out, they are guaranteed a spot in the coveted top three lottery odds. The Pistons tank gets a welcome surprise against the Brooklyn Nets who are battling for play-in position with Kyrie Irving now able to play in home games.
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Nets -13.5
The last time these two teams met, Kevin Durant dragged the Nets to victory with 51 points on an incredible shooting performance. Brooklyn needed every bit of that because Cade Cunningham netted 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists of his own.
In the matchup prior to that, Durant and Cunningham were their teams’ leading scorers in another Nets win. But the story of that night was Durant’s effusive praise for the reigning No. 1 overall pick:
“I love Cade's game. I think he's gonna be a tough, tough cover for a long, long time.”— Overtime (@overtime) November 6, 2021
KD on Cade Cunningham (via @SNYNets)pic.twitter.com/eyyFPEchMW
With Cunningham doing his best to make his final pitch for Rookie of the Year, you can expect to see a similar battle this time around.
This version of Brooklyn will look a bit different than when Detroit last saw them. James Harden is gone and former Pistons Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown are now in the Nets’ starting lineup.
Drummond, in particular, has revitalized his career in Brooklyn. He’s posting an excellent 61 true shooting percentage in his 17 games with the team. More than anything, he’s embraced a role that many Pistons fans were yelling about for years. He’s cut out nearly all of his attempts from outside 10 feet, and his percentage of makes that are assisted are at a career-high number. If those trends continue, he might even be welcomed back to Detroit this offseason when he’s a free agent.
But the big new difference for the Brooklyn Nets is that Kyrie Irving is now able to play home games. This will be Irving’s second home game of the season and, after flopping a bit in his first appearance, he will probably be looking to put on a show for Nets fans when Detroit comes into town.
On Detroit’s end, the player to watch is Marvin Bagley III who is coming off consecutive 25 point performances and building serious chemistry with the young Pistons ball handlers.
Detroit Pistons (20-55)
Cory Joseph, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Stewart
Brooklyn Nets (39-36)
Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Bruce Brown, Kevin Durant, Andre Drummond
Question of the Game
Will the frontcourt pairing of Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Stewart continue to look viable?