Tonight the Pistons will be back on the road in MSG to pay the Knicks at 7:30pm EST tonight. The Pistons are on one night of rest after a win over the Thunder on Monday, as are the Knicks after beating the Mavericks on Monday.
Previously against the Knicks. A close but very good Pistons win.
The Knicks are largely in the same place they were last time we saw them. They're defense is currently a mess with a defensive efficiency of 107.5, and their offense is still lagging way behind at 101.9. They are still lead on offense by Carmelo Anthony, who is scoring 22.6 points per game and doing it very efficiently. Kristaps Porzingis is starting to get those extra shot attempts that the Knicks have talked so much about and he is now averaging 19.3 points on a TS% of almost 60%(!!). Derrick Rose has played all 10 games and 31.2 minutes per game, and yet he has still been really bad, scoring 14.7 points very inefficiently, with 4.8 assists against 3.3 turnovers. Courtney Lee is still the same guy he has been for a long time, he shoots really well, and plays decent defense. Joakim Noah has been absolutely awful so far, still stuck at playing just 23.7 minutes per game, doing very little on offense, and not having the defensive impact that he did in the past. Brandon Jennings is usually the first guy off the bench and is shooting the ball very poorly but is passing the ball very well, Justin Holiday is a sniper at guard, Lance Thomas is struggling at every aspect of his game from the wing, Kyle O'Quinn is barely playing at this point at just 10mpg but he does a little of everything.
The Knicks are still trying to figure it out, or maybe they just stink. As of now their bench is awful and they cannot find ways to play good defense regardless of who is on the floor. If they are going to make the playoffs the first thing they need to address is to find some sort of defense.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Playing: Andre missed the last game, and it worked out because Aron Baynes played an awesome game. It is not a good idea to count on Aron Baynes scoring 20 points. Andre is still currently questionable tonight I believe, and whether he plays or not will obviously have a large impact on the Pistons chances.
Marcus vs. Melo: This was a fun matchup last time and will probably be again. Melo is a lot better than Marcus is, but Marcus can elevate his game for a night to be on par. If Morris can play him to a draw again it would bode very well for the Pistons. If Melo gets hot and Morris doesn't, then the Pistons don't have a good answer for him.
Pistons vs. Kristaps: Tobias will get the majority of time on him, and last time he did a very good job. If Kristaps once again spends most of his time out on the perimeter, it will make Tobias' job much easier. But if Kristaps starts to attack inside, especially on the boards, he could become a big problem, especially if Andre is out.
Pistons bench vs. Going for the throat: The Knicks have a really bad bench. The Pistons bench has generally been ok. Especially if Andre is out, then the Knicks starters should hold serve or even outplay the Pistons, so it will be important for the Pistons bench to outplay the Knicks bench in a big way.
Ish vs. Decision making: Ish has had a bit of a problem the last few games with making good decisions. He is not a skilled enough scorer to make up for bad decisions by just making lots of tough shots so there is not any margin for error. He needs to make better passes and avoid shots that he can't hit. He also had some problems with Rose last time they played so watch that.
Pistons vs. Road defense: The Pistons have largely been crap on the road. This is mostly because of their defense. It isn't very complicated, play better defense.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Marcus is outplaying Melo again.
Tobias is taking it to Kristaps on both ends of the floor.
Run for the hills if:
Derrick Rose decides to have a random “Turn back the clock” game.
Carmelo is raining death on the Pistons from all sides.
Aron Baynes starts and has 4 fouls in the first quarter.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Brandon Jennings has a really nice game, in either points or assists.
Melo and Marcus go at each other a bunch again, but Melo is the clear winner this time.
Ish scores 20 points.
Pistons get big contributions from Ish and also the bench to come out with a close win.
What do you think? Can Marcus have another duel with Melo? Can Ish get himself back into form?
Programming note: There was no podcast yesterday, but will be one today. My work schedule has changed up so the podcast schedule has to change up lol.