After a rough loss Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings, the Detroit Pistons (18-22) have barley gained any ground in the standings. The Chicago Bulls have been playing well as of late, and Detroit has now fallen into last place in the Central Division. The only thing the Pistons can focus on now is winning, you don’t want this losing streak to drag on after the All-Star break. Doesn’t matter if they win by one point, a win is still a win.
So who do the Pistons face next? Can they get at least a few wins this week as a start? If they don’t start to step it up soon, the Pistons are going to be hanging around at the bottom of the standings for a long time. Frankly, the season has been disappointing so far, and while Detroit made the playoff push last season, it would be nice for one more appearance in the Postseason in the final year at the Palace. So without stalling any longer, let’s take a look at Detroit’s opponents for the week.
Thursday 11/12, Golden State Warriors
Yikes, definitely not a good start to Friday eve. The Pistons are going to fly to the West Coast for a game against Steph Curry and the Warriors. Don’t be quick to judge on picking the winner of this matchup, because the last time these two teams were on the court, the game was tight till the final minute. In a game as big as facing the Warriors, each starter and bench player needs to add their two cents if the Pistons want to walk away with a dub.
A game that features Marcus Morris shooting 2 for 10 on the night and 12 points from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope won’t get them a win, and Reggie Jackson can’t put the whole team on his back. Detroit has to be able to contain the Warriors ability to score on turnovers and breakaways. If the Warriors find themselves with a big lead early, it’s going to be tough for Ish Smith and the rest of the Pistons bench to even up the score. Detroit had a 50.6 field goal percentage in their only game against the Warriors, and they’re going to need to bring that dominant scoring to Oakland.
Friday 11/13, Utah Jazz
Immediately following a long night in Oakland, the Pistons have to travel to Utah to face the Jazz the very next day. The Jazz have been the best team in the Northwest Division with a record of 24-16, and find themselves a half a game up against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gordon Hayward has been the Jazz’s top scorer, averaging about 22.2 points per game. Hayward and point guard George Hill have been averaging around 20 points per game, but other than those two, the Pistons won’t find themselves getting rained on with threes, especially a night after playing the Warriors.
Big man Rudy Gobert has been on fire and averaging about 12.3 rebounds per game. On the other hand, Pistons center Andre Drummond has been doing slightly better, averaging 14.7 points per game and 13.4 rebounds. The Pistons and Jazz matchup is bound to be a good one. The Jazz don’t have that many star players, but they’ve been playing so well with good chemistry, and that’s why they’re in first place. The Jazz are a good example that the Pistons can easily make a comeback on the season, and maybe make that playoff push.
Sunday 11/15, Los Angeles Lakers
After two games on the West Coast, the Pistons come home for what should hopefully (cross those fingers) be a win against the Lakers. Los Angeles hasn’t been playing well since they got off to a hot start (now 15-27 on the season). Detroit hasn’t faced LA all season, and this time, number 24 won’t be on the floor for the Lakers (Kobe!). There’s no starter on the Lakers who averages more than 18 points, so the earlier the Pistons can start stuffing the stats charts, the better.
The Lakers center position is weak compared to Detroit’s. Lakers center Timofey Mosgov is only averaging 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds through 41 games. Points from turnovers are going to be key for the Detroit Pistons if they can capitalize off the Lakers mistakes. The Pistons bench is going to have to play well if they’re trying to maintain a lead. Once guys like Ish Smith, Jon Luer, and Stanley Johnson get hot, the Pistons are going to be noticeably better.
Getting big leads against some of the bad teams allows Detroit to give their bench players more time. If Detroit has a manageable lead entering the fourth quarter, I’m confident enough that the Pistons can walk away with a win at home against these guys.
So winning three out of five games this week for Detroit would be ideal. The momentum has to start somewhere, and if the Pistons can somehow beat the Warriors on the road and win four games, things may be looking brighter for Stan Van Gundy and company. If the Pistons can average around three wins a week, you can expect them to slowly start creeping up those standings, and back into decent shape to make some magic happen. The season is not over yet folks, keep being patient.
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