Game Preview: Pistons Test Their Home Cookin Against the Mighty Spurs

Tonight the Pistons (25-28) play host to the San Antonio Spurs (40-12). The game is a 7:30 EST tip off.

Expected starters

San Antonio: Parker, Green, Leonard, Aldridge, Dedmon

Detroit: Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Morris, Leuer, Drummond

The Pistons are on a two game winning streak with victories over the 76ers and Lakers. And while those are two of the worst teams in the NBA this year, those wins were enough to get the Pistons back into position of the 8th seed in the eastern conference. It’s also worth noting that the Pistons are 7-1 in their last 8 home games. So what’s the reason for the recent home dominance? Among other things, an improved effort on the glass.

In 5 of the last 7 home wins the Pistons have had their Center pull down 17 or more rebounds (Drummond four times and Marjanovic once). This has lead to a stronger offense showing as well, which is to be expected with extra positions resulting from a strong rebounding preformance. In each of those seven wins Detroit has scored more than 110 points. Considering that the Pistons average less than 102 points a night for the season, that’s a significant improvement. This is the kind of effort they will have to have tonight if they’re going to have a chance to beat the Spurs. However, this seems possible based on their meeting earlier this year.

The last time these two teams met on November 11th, Andre Drummond had a huge game. He scored 20 points on 8/10 shooting and ripped down 20 rebounds. In comparison, Spurs center Pau Gasol less than half as many while playing more minutes. Unfortunately Drummond’s efforts were enoug to keep the Pistons from being in the wrong side of a 86-96 loss. However, that game was a long time ago. Reggie Jackson hadn’t returned from injury, Harris hadn’t found his niche on the bench yet, Johnson was out of shape, and Caldwell-Pope and Morris hadn’t found their rhythm yet at that point in the year. Plus that game was on the road where the Pistons have been a much worse team this year.

The Spurs are coming into this game fairly hot, having won seven of those last ten games. This is due to their strength at both ends of the floor. Offensively they score 107 points per game, so even if they have an average night the Pistons will have to hit that 110 point mark that they’ve been reaching in their recent home success. That will be no easy task can the Spurs who can really lock down defensively. Their 98.8 points allowed per game is second in the NBA. 

Key matchup 

My key match up will becthe battle between Marcus Morris and Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. The goal for the Pistons isn’t for Morris to win this battle, but rather to make it close to a push. When going up against a super star like this the best you can hope for is to limit the damage and this might be a match up that the Pistons can do that with. Leonard is a lock down defender, so Morris won’t likely be carrying the load offensively tonight. However, Morris is a good defender in his own right. If he can hold Leonard below, or even well below, his 25.5 ppg average then Detroit could have a decent chance.

Injury report

There are no injuries to note for either team.

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