For two teams that have accomplished a whole lot of nothing in recent years, the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets tend to make for a pretty fun basketball game.
The teams split their four games last season with the Pistons winning the first two and the Hornets claiming the last. This comes after Detroit finally snapped one of the more embarrassing streaks in NBA history two years ago — beating the Hornets for the first time in 15 tries.
But tonight will be fun.
Where: Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC
When: Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:00 PM EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Charlotte -4.5
The matchup to watch tonight is easy. Or is it?
Cade Cunningham vs. LaMelo Ball is obviously the biggest on paper. Each is the best player on their respective team, two big point guards capable of taking over the game in different ways. Their style will be interesting to watch tonight.
Ball has some flair to his game, and he’ll hoist up 10-12 triples while probably connecting on a few highlight reel passes along the way. Cade will be steady, he’ll get his buckets inside the arc and he’ll find his teammates as well.
As a betting man, I might parlay Ball and Cade to each get a double-double tonight. Maybe throw a buck on each to get a triple-double. I dunno, it’s Friday night!
However, the other matchup I'm very eager to watch is down low.
Jalen Duren and Mark Williams were two of the best rookie centers in the NBA last season and both played well in their season openers. I think Duren offers a more diverse skillset, but Williams is a GIANT who occupies so much space.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Duren has the better statistical game tonight, but Williams impacts the game more just by sheer mass around the rim as a shot deterrent.
Much like the Pistons, the Hornets actually played pretty well on defense in their opening night win over the Atlanta Hawks, holding Trae Young and Co. to 41% shooting. They did, however, send Atlanta to the line 33 times — most of any team in any game yet this year.
If Detroit can attack, Charlotte will foul them. That might be the key tonight.
The other key, of course, is turnovers. The Pistons gave the ball away far too much against Miami, and against a team like the Hornets that wants to run, run run, Detroit needs to take care of the ball.
Detroit Pistons (0-1): Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Charlotte Hornets (1-0): LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, Mark Williams
Question of the Day
What were your thoughts on the Stew-Duren pairing on opening night?