The Pistons are tied with Toronto for 11th place in the East with a record of 13-26. They are 9-9 at home and 4-14 against the West. One of their wins against the West came in Sacramento on Nov. 14th when they beat the Kings 100-94. Detroit has won 6 of their last 15 games with two of the wins coming in overtime. They beat the Sixers and they beat the Raptors twice. The other 3 wins were against the Celtics, the Hornets and the Hawks.
In our previous game, the Kings and Pistons matched turnovers with 12 apiece, and the Kings dominated the offensive glass 18-9; thanks to Carl and Sam who had 5 each and JT who had 3. But, in spite of having 10 more FGA’s the Kings were outshot from the field by 2 baskets, on 54% shooting by Detroit and 45% field and 11% from 3pt range by the Kings. How bad was the shooting? Well, Luther Head was the 3rd leading scorer with 13 pts on 5-8 shooting in 26 minutes. And, Casspi, Cisco and Beno combined to shot 1-10 from 3pt range.
The Kings dominated the scoring at the rim with 22 baskets to Detroit’s 15. All 10 Kings Players scored at the rim and no one shot below 50% there. Tyreke and DeMarcus shot only 1-9 inside 10ft, but we still outscore Detroit there also. But, it was our 2-18 from beyond the arc that hurt the most.
Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stucky hurt us with a combined 47 pts. And, Charlie V. added 11pts on 4-9 shooting while Richard Hamilton added 13pts on 6-14 shooting. Greg Monroe only played 16 minutes but while he was in the game he was a rebounding monster and ended with a Total Rebounding Rate of 30%. By comparison, DeMarcus had the highest rating for the Kings at 19.8%.
With the glut of perimeter players including Rodney Stuckey, Tracy McGrady, Rick Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon, Will Bynum and Austin Daye, Detroit’s coach John Kuester has had a hard time finding the right combination for his starting lineup. After trying almost every possible combination, he has decided to take Rick Hamilton out of the starting rotation. In fact, he’s received a DNP-CD in the last 2 games. Kuester’s new starting lineup is Rodney Stuckey and Tracy McGrady in the backcourt with Chris Wilcox, Greg Monroe, and Tayshaun Prince up front
The fall from grace by Hamilton is somewhat understandable; he has only averaged 11pts on 40% from the field over the last 10 games. McGrady had been languishing on the bench, but in his last 10 games (5 starts), he’s been averaging 12pts / 4 rebs / 5 asts on 51.5% field and 36.8% from 3pt range. The other no brainer has been Greg Monroe who has been averaging a double-double in the five games before last night’s game in Toronto. He had been averaging 11 pts / 10 rebs / 2 stls on 51% shooting in 32 mpg. Pistons Center Ben Wallace left Monday’s game against Chicago with a sore left ankle, so Chris Wilcox has moved into the starting center spot, Wilcox had been averaging 10 pts / 6 rebs on almost 60% shooting off the bench. No word on Wallace’s return.
Detroit won their first game with the new lineup, last night in Toronto, so it’s more than likely that baring Wallace’s return, they’ll stick with it at least for the Kings game. The other 4 members of the 9-man rotation were Charlie V, Beno Gordon, Will Bryant, and Austin Daye.
At home the Pistons shoot considerably better than when on the road, averaging around 101.7 ppg on 46.8% field and 43.4% from 3pt. They play at one of the slowest pace in the league at just under 92 possessions per game, and just grind on you. And, beat you down with their defense. With Monroe and Wilcox as the new starting bigs, the shoot blocking numbers and rebounding stats basically go out the window.
So, here is my best guess. Monroe has no low post game, and only shots at the rim off offensive rebounds and feeds from his teammates. Cousins and JT needs to keep him off the offensive boards. Wilcox is also, pretty much a low post scorer and rebounder and needn’t be guarded closely beyond 15ft. But, he has the size to give JT problems on the boards. Prince is a proficient scorer everywhere on the court, but takes very few 3’s and doesn’t get to the FT line too often. Omri did a respectable job on him in the last game, except for the 1-5 from 3pt range. Omri lost his man several times now on this road trip for easy layups on backdoor cuts. So he and Cisco need to stay sharp and not let Prince have any easy shots at the basket.
McGrady has pretty much settled into a deep jump shooter while Stuckey is Tyreke Evans light, with an ever so slightly better long jumper. But like Tyreke, Stuckey will do most of his damage at the rim. It would be nice to see Evans guarding Stuckey. But McGrady is too tall for Beno to defend him, so look for him to defend Stuckey. Stuckey will have a slight size advantage, but Beno should be used to defending Evans in practice so I don’t see a big problem, plus Beno will have the Yeti along. I think Detroit’s backcourt will have a harder time defending Beno and Tyreke than the other way around.
Detroit’s bench is quite good, especially Gordon and Charlie V who have no problem putting up 5 to 7 three point shots a game. And, we definitely won’t see the type of run outs that we had in the New York game. We can’t play at their pace, because we just don’t shoot at a high percentage. And, in a low possession game, turnovers will kill you faster than a black mamba. Take your time, run your inside out game, and push the ball on every steal and long rebound of which there should be plenty. I’ll go out on a limb and say that if the Kings defend the paint like that have been; the Kings should stretch their winning streak to two. Let’s Win Kings.