Tonight the Pistons will be hitting the road to head to Charlotte to play the Hornets at 7:00pm EST. The Hornets and on one days rest after beating the Mavs on Monday, while the Pistons are on the 2nd night of a back to back after beating the Bulls last night.
The Hornets have slowed down record wise a bit since a very good start, but they remain a very solid two way team. Their offense is rock solid with a efficiency of 104.9, while the defense is equally solid with a efficiency of 101.9. Kemba Walker has slowed a bit, but not a lot, he is still averaging 23.6 points per game on very good efficiency, he can launch 3s off the dribble and murder people with his crossover, all while passing the ball at a decent clip as well. Nic Batum on the other hand, has continued to struggle so far this year, he is shooting the ball very poorly from both 3 and inside of it on his way to 13.5 points per game, but he is still facilitating well with 5.7 assists per game (which leads the team). Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a monster defender who doesn't shoot 3s at all, but he can do damage on the inside with frenzied drives, post ups, and offensive rebounds. Cody Zeller is a excellent all around big who can do a little bit of everything, Marvin Williams is expected to play tonight and he is shooting alright from 3 and really poorly inside the arc, he is also a very good defender. Frank Kaminsky has shot really poorly from 3 so far this year, but he is a whip smart passer and a heady defender who is at least pretty big. Kaminsky is looking like he will be a nice role player for a long time. Marco Belinelli can shoot, Spencer Hawes can shoot a little bit from the center spot, Jeremy Lamb is a nice all around wing off the bench who has good length and athleticism, Ramon Sessions has generally struggled from backup point guard, and Roy Hibbert is large and slow.
The Hornets are a solid team who figure to be in the middle of the playoff mix for the rest of the year, they are well coached and have guys who play the right way. They also get a chance to get back at the Pistons as now the Pistons are the ones on a back to back.
Matchups to watch:
Reggie vs. Playing: SVG said that Reggie may or may not play in this game since it is a back to back, he said that he would decide today. Reggie Jackson is good and makes the Pistons better. If he plays it is good, if he doesn't, it is bad.
KCP vs. Batum: With MKG down a spot there is not going to be a smaller option. Batum's size has given KCP trouble in the past, and there is not much reason to expect it to end up being different. Batum is struggling a bit this year, but he is still a very good player and if KCP can manage to keep him in check it will help.
Andre vs. All the Hornets: The Hornets do not have anyone who figures to be able to hang with Andre on the boards, Zeller is good but not on Andre's level, Hibbert is big but very slow. Andre was off to a very good start against the Hornets last time before getting ejected, he also should be playing with a little extra fire from the last game there.
Reggie/Ish vs. Kemba: Kemba is really good. He is the Hornets' best player by a long shot right now. Ish is fast enough that he can probably stick with him for the most part, and Reggie could maybe give him some problems with his length. Not to mention that they can stick KCP on him at some point if they really need to. (Although that would create a pretty big size difference with Reggie or Ish on Batum or MKG)
Bench vs. Awesomeness: Ish Smith is running with the bench mob now and the bench is what won the Pistons their game against the Bulls. IF they can get a good difference between them again it would be big, because the Hornets bench is solid as well.
KCP vs. Not sliding further: KCP reached just over 40% from 3 following the Atlanta game. The last two he has shot 1 of 6 and 1 of 5. He played pretty well last night, but this is still one of the biggest things he needs to prove he can avoid. 2 games of bad shooting isn't a big deal, hopefully he can prove that he has grown as a shooter and stabilize soon.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre has 20 and 20 at half time and playing angry. But not too angry.
Reggie plays, and he continues to look good.
KCP gets hot and scores a billion points on absurd 3 point shooting.
Run for the hills if:
Batum's size is giving KCP problems on both ends of the floor.
Andre gets ejected again.
The Pistons looks slow on a back to back and/or their road demons return.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre 20 and 20.
Reggie plays and plays well. (He only played 18 minutes last night.)
Mobias struggle against a solid defensive pairing against them.
What do you think? Can the Pistons avoid death on the road? Can KCP rebound his shooting?