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Pistons vs. Pacers preview: Only two more to go

A victory tonight would even the season series at two a piece.

Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons Pistons have been victorious in only one game since the All-Star break back in February. Their sole victory came against tonight’s opponent, the Indiana Pacers, on March 13.

Like their previous matchup, a host of talented players are expected to be dressed in street clothes this evening. Each team’s first and second scoring options are out with various injuries. Bojan Bogdanovic and Cade Cunningham for Detroit. Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner for the Pacers.

With top lottery odds officially secured, a pair of victories in these final couple of games would be soothing for both fans and the franchise. Two 11-game losing streaks (one which is current) since the All-Star weekend have been brutal for all involved with the Pistons.

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +11.5

Detroit Pistons v Indiana Pacers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images


3 Things to watch:

1. Ivey vs. Mathurin

It wasn’t that long ago when Piston fans were in hot debate on whether Detroit should have taken Jaden Ivey or Beth Mathurin with the fifth overall selection.

Mathurin began his rookie season in scintillating fashion, averaging 19.1 points on 41.7% shooting from three in his first 20 games as a pro. Including a dominant 27-point performance against the Pistons in October, only further fueling the debate.

However, Mathurin has comeback down to earth since his fast start. In the ensuing 56 games, the Pacers rookie’s scoring average and efficiency has dipped to 15.7 points a night on 26.2 3P%.

On the flip-side, Jaden Ivey has continued to grow with each passing month in the NBA. The dynamic guard is a different player to the one which faced Mathurin in the beginning of the season. The counting stats are slightly better, but Ivey has progressed into a three-level scorer who has a better understanding of how to leverage his elite quickness to score or facilitate.

With Mathurin now starting, expect the rookie foes to match-up at least a few times throughout the game.

2. How will Detroits two big line-up guard Indiana’s shooting front-court

In the Pacers previous game with the New York Knicks, each of the starting group hoisted at least two three-point attempts. The front-court trio of Jordan Nwora, Aaron Nesmith and Jalen Smith combined to shoot 6 of 12 from deep.

With Smith playing center and either of Nwora or Nesmith at the power forward position, Detroits tandem of Duren and Wiseman are going to have their work cutout defending the perimeter.

While each of the big-man duo have shown flashes (Duren more so than Wiseman) of guarding outside the painted area, neither are good at it.

Considering the above weaknesses, it will be interesting to see if Dwane Casey alters his front-court to deal with the Pacers space-driven offense.

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

3. Cory Joseph’s sweet shooting

I know, I know, he’s far from everyones favorite, but with the injuries and current state of the Pistons I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge Cory Joseph’s recent shooting tear.

In his past 15 outings, the man affectionately known as ‘Co-Jo’ is converting on 49% of his five triple tries per game. He’s scored double digits in all but 3 games of this stretch as the backup guard.

Joseph is a free-agent this summer and if Detroit are truly looking to make a move up the standings, they’d be hard pressed to find a better third string point guard on the open market.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (16-64)

Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Livers, James Wiseman, Jalen Duren

Indiana Pacers (34-46)

Andrew Nembhard, Bennedict Mathurin, Aaron Nesmith, Jordan Nwora, Jalen Smith

Question of the Day

Were you team Mathurin or Ivey on Draft night? (be honest)