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Pistons vs. Pacers preview: Returning home after a three game road trip

The Pistons had a pretty productive road trip and will look to keep their positive momentum going against the Pacers at home.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons continued their stretch of winning games that they shouldn’t against the Toronto Raptors last night in Toronto. That has become the norm lately for the Pistons as they start to hit their stride and everybody learns to play together.

It might not be the best for draft pick purposes, but playing competitive games and getting a win here and there is great for team morale. The Pistons will look to keep that positive momentum going as they head back home on the 2nd night of a back-to-back.

In most cases, a road/home back-to-back is not ideal, but Toronto is only a short plane ride away, so it shouldn’t feel any different than a usual back-to-back.

Game Vitals

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Friday, March 4, 2022 at 7:00 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+3), O/U 231.5, Pistons +130 Moneyline

Analysis

There was a lot of controversy amongst the Pistons fanbase when the team opted to hold onto Jerami Grant through the trade deadline. There was a multitude of reasons for this thinking like the narrative that his presence was hindering the development of young players, in particular, Saddiq Bey.

After a rough stretch returning from injury, the decision to hold onto Grant is looking like a good one as him, Saddiq Bey, and Cade Cunningham have ended many of the concerns on their fit together during the Pistons recent stretch of hot play. The Pistons new “Big Three” was on full display in last night’s thrilling victory against the Toronto Raptors. as Jerami Grant had 26 points, Saddiq Bey had 23, including the a circus layup to put the game away, and Cade Cunningham had 22 points. All three haven’t been great every single game, but you can almost expect one of the three to be the Pistons leading scorere any given night.

For the Pacers, they are another team that was involved in a controversial trade decision at the deadline, although it was the player they received that generated the controversy. They acquired young guard Tyrese Haliburton from the Kings in a trade for Domantas Sabonis. Haliburton was supposedly untouchable in potential Ben Simmons trade talks, but for some reason when the Kings wanted to go all in on a roster that was out of the play-in game they had to trade their future.

That decision has been a huge benefit to the Indiana Pacers. In 8 games with the Pacers, Haliburton has scored 20.4 points, dished out 9.6 assists, and shot 44 percent from 3 point range. It is looking like the Pacers got the better player in the trade and they will have in on a rookie contract for the next few years.

Another player on the Pacers that has benefitted from the Sabonis trade is Isaiah Jackson, the 1st year player out of Kentucky has finally gotten some playing time, and he has played well with those minutes. Him and Jalen Smith off the bench have helped cover for the loss of Myles Turner to injury and the trade of Sabonis.

It will be nice to not have to face Sabonis anymore, who has been a Pistons killer over the years. Granted, Sabonis has killed a lot of teams, but he always seemed to have his best games against the Pistons.

The Pacers don’t have much else going for them right now as they are in a pretty similar position to the Pistons a few years ago. They have a roster that is pretty much capped out as a 1st round exit playoff team, but they are not quite bad enough to get a top pick either. It is a bad spot to be in, although in their defense, they have acknowledged that they need a rebuild and have started to move towards that with the Sabonis trade as well as the Caris LeVert trade with the Cavaliers.

With how well the Pistons have been playing recently, I fully expect this to be a winnable game for them. Even if they don’t win, it will likely be a hard-fought battle, which has been the case in every game since the All Star Break for the Pistons.

Lineups

Indiana Pacers (22-42): Malcom Brogdon, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Oshae Brissett, Isaiah Jackson

Detroit Pistons (16-47): Cory Joseph, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

Should the Pistons look to keep building around the core of Saddiq Bey, Cade Cunningham, and Jerami Grant or is that core never going to be good enough to win a Championship?

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