Tomorrow (Monday) night the Pistons will be in Brooklyn to play against the Nets at 7:30pm est. Both teams are going to be on one days rest following a loss, and the Pistons are looking to bounce back after a brutal back to back against the Cavs and Raptors.
The Them: The Nets are really bad. It is not a whole lot more complicated than that. They have a very mediocre OffRtg. of 98.4 and a truly miserable DefRtg of 106.0. They are largely in the same place they were last time the Pistons saw them in most ways. Brook Lopez is a really solid offensive player who bullies his way into slow motion buckets in a variety of ways. Thad Young can't (and doesn't really) shoot much but is big and uses his size to good effect and can really score inside. And beyond those two... there is not much. Joe Johnson is starting to show some signs of life but is still not even a shell of what he once was, Bojan Bohdanovic is a shooter who is not shooting all that well, Donald Sloan has taken over starting and looks like he might be a decent PG, Wayne Ellington can do a few nice things on either side of the court but not much. The bench has Shane Larkin who has struggled since Jarret Jack got hurt but he can shoot a bit. I mean they've got guys on their bench, but they mostly are not any good. This team is not really any good. They are awful on defense, their offense is not good, and they don't really have any identity other than Brook Lopez eating things inside on offense. The Nets stink, and that kind of makes me sad because it is the sort of bad that you don't want to wish on any other fans, but its just the reality. They stink.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Lopez: Best players for each team, going head to head. This is the only matchup with much intrigue in it. Lopez is freaking huge and can do some damage to Andre with that, and Andre is a whole lot faster and quicker than Lopez. Last time around Andre put the ball on the floor quite a bit and got a lot of nice buckets on Lopez, and also managed to hold his ground well enough on defense. The real key is for Andre to stay strong and keep Lopez from carrying the Nets, and then kill Lopez on the other end and on the boards.
Bench mob vs. Puke: The Nets bench is freaking horrible. The Pistons bench is actually pretty good. As such the bench mob battle should favor the Pistons quite a bit, and they should be able to mostly do what they want. There is a pretty decent chance that the Nets starters will manage to do alright (because since Donald Sloan was inserted into the starting lineup, that lineup has actually been pretty solid) but the Pistons bench should blow this one pretty much wide open. Theoretically at least.
Pistons vs. Guarding Thad Young: The Pistons power forwards are not all that good defensively, and Young has been able to do have a couple very solid nights. They will need to keep him from exploding. Because he is occasionally good enough to single handedly carry the Nets, so they really just have to keep him from that really.
Stanley Johnson vs. The good play: Stanley Johnson has been playing really well lately, and it has combined with Jennings' return to be a huge boon for the bench. In theory, because he's a rookie, he will cool off at some point and go into a slump. But the longer this good play keeps up the better, because it makes the Pistons a lot better as a team to have another guy who can create some shots on offense. (And play good defense. Also, it might end up being he keeps up this play, who knows?)
Reggie vs. Getting back on track: Reggie had a couple rough games in a row, not horrible but not what he is capable of, or what the Pistons need to get from him. He needs to get back into form, and he has had a tendency to do just that so far this year, so I would expect a solid turnaround game.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre is dribbling around Lopez's defense, and dodging around Lopez's box outs to a monster night.
Reggie is pissed about the last 2 games and is eating the weak ass Brooklyn PGs alive on both ends of the court.
The Pistons bench mob outscores the Net's bench mob by 50 in 5 minutes of game time.
Run for the hills if:
My irrational fear of Joe Johnson becomes rational for 1 night.
Brook Lopez gets Andre into some foul trouble/scoring a lot.
Thad Young goes ham on the Pistons PF rotation.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre shows off the dribbling and dunks a lot.
Reggie has a bounce back game and scores like 30 points.
The Pistons win handily on the back of the bench mob destroying things.
What do you think? Do you have an irrational fear of Joe Johnson? Let me know! We all get smarter!