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Pistons vs. Jazz preview: Will this be the one?

I’m not saying it, but a lot of people are saying it.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Jazz are a better team than the Pistons, let’s get that out of the way right now before you convince yourself that this is an easy win for the Pistons. However, when taking a look at their schedule, this stretch of games (Monday against the Hawks, today against the Jazz, and Saturday against the Nets) have been pointed to as the spot to end the losing streak until at least the New Year.

The Pistons losing streak is now only 5 games away from all-time NBA futility as it currently sits at 24 games in a row. I am all for making history, but this is the kind of history I would like to avoid. The Jazz are a fellow young team that has struggled this season, but there is a reason they are still favored on the road.

If the Pistons play like they did against the Hawks, they can probably squeak out a win, but it isn’t going to be easy.

Game Vitals

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Jazz (-1.5)

Analysis

The Jazz are a young team just like the Pistons, but the biggest difference between these two teams is that the Jazz have an All Star in Lauri Markkenen while the Pistons do not. Both teams have a collection of young players playing a lot of minutes and both teams have struggled because of that.

But, the Jazz’ struggles this season are not even in the same hemisphere as the Pistons’. The thing about young teams is that their day-to-day play is very finicky, which is why a lot of people see this as an opportunity for the Pistons to finally end this winning streak. But, the Jazz still have some players in their rotation that you would consider veterans that have provided a lot more than what the Pistons veterans have this season outside of Bojan Bogdanovic.

It is still going to take a Herculean effort by Cade Cunningham like he did on Monday against the Hawks to try to steal a win. The good thing for Cunningham is that the Jazz are not a good defensive team just like the Hawks, so there is an opportunity to replicate some of the success he had on Monday as long as his shot is falling.

Cade was able to get wherever he wanted because there wasn’t a ton of resistance from the Hawks defense and they didn’t have the backcourt size to guard him. The Jazz are in a similar boat with guys like Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker, and rookie Keyonte George getting a lot of minutes in the backcourt. George is putting together a solid rookie season, but he may not play due to a foot injury.

Another player who will be out is Jordan Clarkson, which is a good thing for the Pistons. Guys like Clarkson always seem to have their best games against the Pistons, so it will be nice to not have to deal with that.

The Pistons might get Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes back from injury. The return of Stewart could be helpful defensively for guarding Lauri Markannen, who is the one guy that could turn this game into a blowout quick. Guys like Sexton and Horton-Tucker can get hot and make it a long night for the Pistons, but Markannen has been doing in consistently since getting traded to the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz have an opportunity to face old friend Bojan Bogdanovic while the Pistons face old friend Kelly Olynyk. Bogdanovic has been a better player obviously, but Olynyk has been a solid bench piece for the Jazz since the trade.

The Pistons won’t have the advantage of facing a West Coast team after making the trip out East, as they just faced the Cavaliers in Cleveland last night, but since the Jazz are on a back-to-back that bodes well for the Pistons chances to win.

The Pistons only have a shot if Cade can replicate what he did against the Hawks and they avoid the slow start they had against the Hawks. That made a huge difference in the 6-point loss, as that game was one of the first times they didn’t completely collapse in the 4th quarter.

Lineups

Detroit Pistons (2-25): Jaden Ivey, Cade Cunningham, Ausar Thompson, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart

Utah Jazz (10-18): Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker, Simone Fontecchio, Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler

Question of the Day

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