Tonight at 8:00pm est. the Pistons will be in the land of big ole' women to play the almighty Spurs. The Pistons are on 2 days rest after a win against the Raptors on Sunday. And the Spurs are on 3(!) days off after a win against Houston on Saturday. This game also will be nationally televised on ESPN.
The Them: They're the freaking Spurs. Have we not all heard enough about them already? Whatever, just in case you've lived under a rock for the past 20 freaking years here is the rundown. Kawhi Leonard is a 2 way beast who is perhaps the best all around defender in the world, and he can freaking score now. Like not just occasionally make nice plays. Dude can straight up post up dudes in the midrange and get buckets. As a league pass addict who was doubtful of Leonard as a super star early on, his progression to this season is one of the craziest things I have ever seen. LaMarcus Aldridge is not scoring as much as he did in Portland, but he is still a masterful scorer and has already blended into the Spurs system of movement, passing, and defense in a way that even the biggest optimist would have to be impressed by. Tony Parker is not exactly lighting up the stat sheets, but he has looked like the Tony Parker of old (which was not really true most of last season) slicing into the paint and somehow destroying fools when he gets there. Danny Green has not shot as well from deep as he usually does but he is still the prototype for 3 and D. He can shoot and is a monster defender at the SG spot. And Tim Duncan is still an alien. The bench is less potent without Manu Ginobli, but it is still really solid. Patty Mills gives a nice change of pace from Parker, bringing shooting and defense to the table. David West still is punking fools with his old man midrange/shortrange game, and Boris Diaw continues to give hope for all of us fat dudes out there with his goofy but effective blend of fat, passing, and shooting. Kyle Anderson has taken on a bigger role lately and is like a skinny version of Diaw, and Jonathan Simmons is a athlete who plays crazy hard and will make several really good plays almost every time he is on the floor. Boban might see some time as well, and he is freaking huge. The Spurs are of course liable to rest guys/play guys that they would not usually do at any time for any reason. Due to the 3 days off I would be surprised if anyone rested, but once again, it is the Spurs. These guys are crazy good, crazy good players, crazy good coach. It is legitimately insane that there are two teams as good as the Warriors and Spurs at the same time. They play world destroying defense, and the offense is more post up/iso heavy than in the past few years, but they still have the same spursgasm inducing passing that makes the machine run.
Matchups to watch:
- Morris/Harris vs. Leonard/Aldridge: This will be a pretty good test of the new hybrid duo. Because there is no where to hide in this game. I don't know what SVG will opt to do, (I would rather Morris take Aldridge but idk for sure) but somehow they both are going to have a crazy hard matchup. Leonard and Aldridge play both ends, and while whoever is guarded by Aldridge figures to have a quickness advantage, Aldridge is no slouch in quicks. These are the Spurs best players, and while Morris/Harris are not the Pistons best players, these sort of games are the games they need to show they can do really well in if they want to be the future of the forward spot in Detroit. (Of course this is one game, the future of the Harris/Morris combo does not tip on this game. But this game should be fairly telling where they are right now)
- Andre vs. Everybody: Tim Duncan is an alien, but he is an old alien who cannot really jump. And the Spurs have essentially used David West and Aldridge as their backup C most of the year. As such, Andre should have a huge advantage in size and athleticism all night. Obviously Duncan will give Andre issues because he is Tim freaking Duncan. But it has been a little overstated how good he still is. It is absurd how good Duncan is for how old he is, but he has openings in the armor. It is up to Andre to exploit those holes, because if he does not totally out-athlete Duncan then Duncan will murder him. The Spurs might bust out Boban to combat Andre.
- Bench Mob vs. Not being terrible: The bench mob has performed above expectations following the loss of some key pieces. We all need to keep our fingers crossed that they keep it up. Especially in this game. Because even without Manu, the Spurs bench is good. And if the Pistons bench chooses this game to lay an egg, they will get destroyed. (on the plus side, everyone should be well rested so the starters can probably play a bit more)
- KCP vs. Good offense: The past few games KCP has been pretty solid on offense. So hopefully he keeps it up. His track record suggests a stretch where he is miserable is coming, but you never know when a guy has turned the corner. Also on KCP, to everyone who disagrees with me on how good he is. We are going to just agree to disagree for at least the rest of this season. I really like KCP and hopefully he makes big strides. There was some excellent conversations on KCP and his value on my post about the Harris/Morris combo and I really enjoyed those. Those are the best part about doing these posts. But I can only argue the same thing so many times. Obviously I will still talk about KCP in posts, but as far as arguing his value etc. I am going to sort of abstain from it for now, because that argument has been made. So if you disagree with something I say about him I'll just give you an upvote and say "Agree to disagree." (Shouts especially to /u/socoamaretto [+8]for good points on KCP.)
- Pistons vs. Staying turnt: The Pistons have been fully turned up and locked in the past 5 games. They are rested and on national TV against the Spurs. It should not be an issue to be ready for this because if you cannot get excited for this sort of game then you should not be in the NBA. But still, you never know when a team is going to have a bit of a let down. And even if they are fully locked in they will probably lose, if they are not totally locked in they will stand no chance.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre is a bigger, stronger, jumpier alien than Tim Duncan.
Morris/Harris go toe to toe with Leonard/Aldridge.
Reggie Bullock is still causing Reggie Jackson to do his best Chris Kyle impression.
Run for the hills if:
Tim Duncan just punks Andre over and over again.
Tony Parker is slicing through the Pistons defense time and time again.
The Pistons look any less than fully engaged from the start.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre has a REALLY big game. Like gratuitous numbers.
Harris/Morris take another step towards the white house.
Reggie Bullock is actually a awesome bench player.
Pistons upset the Spurs in SA for the first time this season on the back of a otherworldly effort from Andre.
Both teams rested, prime time, national TV, Pistons playing really well lately. The Spurs might just be so much better than the Pistons that it does not matter, but this should in theory be a really fun game.
' What do you think? Will you form a fucking wall? Let me know! We all get smarter!