Game Preview: Pistons Take on the Warriors Looking to Shake Off Ugly Loss
Just when it seemed like the Pistons were starting to get things figured out, the team reminds us all why they have been so infuriating to watch this season. After a thrilling double overtime win in Portland, the Pistons were looking to be in complete command against the Kings before collapsing down the stretch and blowing a nine point fourth quarter lead. This loss was especially disappointing considering who Detroit was playing (a Sacramento team that is now six games under the .500 mark) and who Detroit plays tonight.
The Pistons head into Golden State having won just four of their last ten games, including a 119-113 lose to this Warriors team at the Palace. On the other hand, Golden State has lost just six games all year (33-6) and have won eight of their last ten. Despite being a very bad match up on paper, Pistons fans should hold some hope for this game based on the way these two teams played each other a few weeks ago.
The key to the most recent game vs this Golden State team was dominating their big men. In that game the Pistons held Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia to a combined 12 points. To keep this one close the Pistons will need a similar defensive effort on these two tonight. Frankly the Warriors have way too many scoring threats to let the 4th and 5th scoring options beat them. Keep in mind that Jon Leuer made his first start for the Pistons in that match up with the Warriors and he is expected to miss tonight’s game with a knee injury.
One thing the Pistons won’t be looking to repeat is the defensive effort they had on Kevin Durant and Steph Curry the last time they were in town. These two MVP caliber players combined for 57 points and 8-13 from three last time around, led by Durant’s 32 points in 32 minutes. The defense on the perimeter has to be better for the Pistons to have a chance in this one. It feels like something that is said all the time with this team, and it’s especially true when playing a prolific scoring team like the Warriors, the Pistons have to play max effort defense for 48 minutes.
Offensively the Pistons have been playing well as of late. The team has scored over 100 points in six of the last nine and has only been held under 95 twice in that span (Milwaukee and Sacramento). Tobias Harris has thrived in his new role of coming off the bench, although he will start tonight. He is currently the Pistons leading scorer at 16.6 points per game. He was also the Pistons leading scorer in the last game against the Warriors with 26 points. Reggie Jackson, who was dealing with some dehydration issues in Sacramento, has also been playing well lately. He had 17 points and 6 assists in the loss to Golden State and he will look to improve on those numbers tonight.
Expected starting line ups
Detroit: Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Morris, Harris, Drummond
Golden State: Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, Pachulia
Key to the game: The key match up for the Pistons in this game will be Andre Drummond vs Zaza Pachulia. The Warriors big man is 32 and average less the six points and six rebounds per game. In a game where Golden State seems to have every advantage on the floor, Drummond is Detroit’s ace in the hole. Drummond played okay in the last game, 15 points and 9 rebounds, but has the match up to put up much bigger numbers. If he puts up one of his infamous 20/20 games then he could be the deciding factor in helping the Pistons steal this win.
Jon Leuer is still out with a bone bruise. Harris will start in his place and rookie Henry Ellenson should see some playing time coming off the bench.
Reggie Jackson should be good to go after being dehydrated two nights ago vs the Kings.
Image via: The Detroit Free Press