To close out the first half of the season the Pistons will be in Houston to play against the Rockets at 8:00pm est. Tomorrow (Wednesday.) Both teams will be coming off of one days rest, the Rockets having previously lost to the Clippers and the Pistons losing to the Bulls.
The Them: The Rockets are hugely talented, and they are also one of the biggest messes in the NBA. Their OffRtg. of 103.7 speaks to the offensive prowess of the team, as well as their best player James Harden. But the DefRtg. of 105.2(!) speaks to the laziness and general lack of shits given from the team and their best player. But, for all that the Rockets have been made fun of this year, they have managed to be 22-21 (although they are a bit lucky to be at that mark with their point differential.) and it speaks to how talented this team is that despite all of their problems they are staying afloat. The Rockets begin and end with James Harden, who you are probably well aware of at this point. He scores in a variety of ways and head jerks his way into gratuitous foul shooting, while also throwing brilliant passes all over the place, and also generally not caring even remotely about defense. Patrick Beverly sort of plays PG but is really just a 3 and D type of guy and Harden runs point. (and Beverly is a very solid 3 and D type.) Trevor Ariza is literally the prototypical 3 and D wing player, even if the 3 part has been a bit off for him this year. (Shooting just 34.5% from deep.) Clint Capela is starting alongside Howard up front to help form a freaking huge frontline, and while his offensive game is not exactly refined, he is bouncy and can dunk and play defense. And of course holding down the middle is SVG's old buddy Dwight Howard, who although not the same guy he once was, is still capable of dominating play, even if he is mostly just pretty good these days. The bench is made up of a group of guys who should be good but just havn't really been any good so far this year. Whether it be Terrence Jones, Corey Brewer, or Ty Lawson. The Rockets play the Morey Ball style where they shoot lots of 3s, layups, and free throws, and never get back in transition or really play much defense of any sort at all actually.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Dwight: Two really good and athletic centers going at it. And there is a pretty decent chance Dwight will give a little extra oomph due to SVG sitting on the opposite bench as well. Andre should have the upper hand because he is just better at this point but Howard is a real Vet at this point and may well have a few tricks up his sleeve for Andre. If Andre can dominate the matchup as well as he did last time these teams played then the Pistons will be in real good shape. If Dwight manages to get to Andre, or worse get him into foul trouble though, the Pistons are going to have a big problem. (Although that's exactly what happened last time early in the game and Baynes went off.)
KCP vs. Harden: KCP is a monster on defense, Harden is a monster on offense. And they will be going head to head. KCP did an excellent job in his first meeting until Harden got going against Stanley Johnson and then got KCP into some foul trouble. But either way, it should be a good matchup. Anther thing to watch is that the Rockets freaking suck at transition defense, and KCP loves to run.
Andre vs. The Twin Towers: Going to be a unique thing here, because with Capella (I would guess at least) the Rockets have the most capable frontcourt to combat Andre on the boards. He will have to work for his numbers.
The New Bench vs. Lazy transition defense: With Jennings at the helm the Pistons bench runs every chance they get. The Rockets don't really believe in getting back on defense, which could make for a real landslide for the Pistons when the bench mobs hit the floor.
Pistons players vs. Staying off the roads: Ty Lawson could always be lurking somewhere.
So in conclusion
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre takes it to Dwight screaming "FOR STAAAAAAN"
Ersan pulling Capela away from the hoop causes all sorts of problems for the Rockets.
KCP keeps Harden under wraps.
Run for the hills if:
Andre gets into foul trouble.
James Harden is punking fools all over the place.
Ty Lawson kills a Pistons player while drunk driving.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
KCP is pissed after getting ejected last game and swallows Harden's soul.
The new bench scores. Like a lot.
Pistons win by a fair margin, but is bolstered up by James Harden doing some shenanigans down the stretch to keep it close.
Ty Lawson actually kills someone.
I can't honestly say this should be a fun game. It might be, but it might not be. I could be a dismal blowout that moves slowly due to a free throw parade. Or it could be hugely entertaining watching really good players clash. Who knows with this Rockets team.
What do you think? Think someone has told Lawson about Uber yet? Let me know! We all get smarter!
P.S. I was hoping to have the Drummond Effect post up today with pictures and stuff, but I got sidetracked responding to people on the Warriors post to /r/nbaand I realized it was getting late so I figured I'd do the scouting report now, and the Drummond effect could wait a bit. Hopefully I will get it up tomorrow afternoon before the game starts. Also, due to the gratuitous upvotes I will take that as a "Yeah we dig the specific analysis with pics and stuff." So I will do more, idk how often because it is time consuming, but I'll try.