Tonight at 8:00pm EST. the Pistons will be in Chicago to play the Bulls in a hugely important game for both teams as they are both fighting for the last couple playoff spots in the East. The Pistons are on the second of a back to back, and the Bulls are on one nights rest following a win over the Rockets.
The Them: The Bulls are a very different team this season, in that they are no longer a very good team. Their DefRtg. is not all that impressive at 103.4, and their OffRtg. is not on par either at just 101.4. Jimmy Butler is back playing and is very good on both ends. He is a bruising offensive player who draws tons of fouls, and can defend most anyone. Derrick Rose has played really well since the all star break, attacking the rim, hitting jump shots, and dishing pretty well. But he is listed as doubtful for tonights game so we'll see if he even plays or not. Pau Gasol can still shoot and pass, but he is a bad defender and his rebounding numbers are fairly empty. Nikola Mirotic s a maniac but he has found some of his long distance shooting back, but is struggling in other areas. But he can score. Doug McBuckets is starting to really look like the type of guy that can just flat out score, although it is unknown if he will ever learn to defend anyone or anything. Aron Brooks is the sort of backup PG who can randomly put up a bunch of points in a short amount of time. Mike Dunleavy is the sort of savy vet who can shoot and do the right basketball plays all the time that is just dope to have on the team, even if he does not do a ton of great stuff other than his shooting. Bobby Portis might actually be a really good player, and he can shoot a little. E'Twuan Moore can really shoot and score, he is just a really solid guard off the bench. Justin Holliday might play a little because of injuries, but he has not done much in his career, in theory he can shoot though. Cristiano Felicio is a guy who I have never actually seen play I don't think, if I did see him I didn't know it lol. I did pick him up in 2k as a 3rd center though so he has that going for him I suppose. Taj Gibson is still a tough as nails inside player on both ends, but he is also listed a doubtful tonight.
Matchups to watch:
THIS FREAKING GAME: The Pistons and Bulls have played some of the more entertaining basketball games of the season. Including the Reggie super saiyan 4OT game. And both teams are fighting for the same playoff spots so this should be a really fun and good game.
Bulls vs. Guarding Mobias: Jimmy Bulter is awesome. But he can only guard one, (probably Marcus) which would mean that Dunleavy, Portis, Mirotic, and McDermott will all take turns on the other one. And if Butler does not guard one then this could really be a big game for the Mobias combo. No matter how it shakes up, the Pistons two headed forward monster should have quite a bit of success on offense tonight.
Andre vs. Everybody (But mostly Gasol): Pau Gasol can't really contend with Andre in the paint, this much has been proven so far this season. Andre should be in for a monster game on the boards especially. The thing that Pau does have though is shooting, and with the way the Pistons defense is constructed they allow jumpers to opposing centers. I hope SVG allows a little flexibility with Pau on the floor so that he does not get free jumpers all game.
Reggie vs. Not sucking: The past two games are (off the top of my head) the worst back to back games of the season for Reggie. Just flat out, he has to do better. There is not some secret thing he has to change really, he just has to be better on both ends of the court.
Pistons vs. Guarding Butler: Butler has given KCP a lot of trouble in the past meetings due to his size, and I would expect the Pistons to just start out the game with Morris on him, but that then means one of KCP or Reggie will have to bump all the way down onto whoever is playing the 3 for the Bulls, which is not ideal since the Bulls have a couple of 3s who can really score. Simply put, Butler is a matchup problem for the Pistons.
Bench vs. Being even a little bit good: The bench has sort of re-entered eternal sadness lately. And SVG rode the starters HARD last game. SVG might say screw it and do it again, but the bench will have to do better. Baynes had a -25 in just 14 minutes or something last game. That is remarkably bad. A lot of things can happen to fix this, Steve Blake has hit a bad shooting slump lately , which means that he brings literally nothing good to the floor, and Stanley has more often than not played poorly since returning from injury. Tolly and Baynes are doing ok but they do not create anything for themselves so the can't do much on their own. I would be in favor of getting Hilliard or Bullock back into the rotation, but however it would happen, it has to.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre has 20 rebounds by halftime.
Doug McDermott is guarding Tobias Harris.
Reggie has a bounce back game and goes super saiyan again.
Run for the hills if:
Jimmy Butler eats KCP alive.
Reggie is really in a funk.
The bench goes -30 over a 5 minute period causing SVG to start playing all the starters 48 minutes per night.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre might have 20 boards by halftime.
Reggie bounces back big time. Especially if Rose is out.
Someone on the bench catches fire from 3 and saves them for at least one game.
The Pistons win a 9 OT game of epic proportions.
These teams have played some awesome games, I don't see much reason this one will be different.
What do you think? Think the bench will score a single point? Let me know! We all get smarter!