Tonight at 7:30 the Pistons will be welcoming the Washington Wizards to the Palace of Auburn Hills to play in a game that can eliminate the Wizards from the playoffs and clinch for the Pistons. The Pistons are on one days rest following a win over the Magic on Wednesday. The Wizards are also on one days rest following a win over the Nets.
The Them: The Wizards are clinging for dear life so expect a pretty strong effort from them tonight. They are a solid offensive team with an OffRtg. of 102.7 and a pretty mediocre defensive team with a DefRtg. of 103.7. Their offense revolves around John Wall, who is a blur attacking the basket at every opportunity, and while his jumper is respectable these days, it is not all that reliable. He has the ball in his hands a ton, and gets lots of assists and lots of turnovers. HOWEVA, there is a chance he will not play tonight, more on that later though. Bradley Beal is a sweet shooting SG and has grown as a PnR ball handler although he is not exactly great as a facilitator. Essentially on the offensive end he is what we all would hope (and still do hope, even if not looking likely anymore) that KCP could become, and on the defensive end he is not too good but not horrible. Marcin Gortat mans the middle and is a really good do-it-all big who can protect the rim on defense and hit some jumpers and roll hard to the hoop on offense. Otto Porter has not had quite the breakout year many had hoped he would have, but he has been a pretty solid 3 and D type for most of the season. Lesser Morris has been a pretty solid addition to the Wizards, as a reliable source of playmaking and scoring outside of the backcourt, but he has not given them quite the boost I would imagine they had hoped for. Off the bench (or possibly starting) Ramon Sessions is just a really effective player who is a patient PG who can score and pass pretty well, essentially a really solid backup. Nene, for all his flaws, is still capable of being a beastly scorer in the paint. Kelly Oubre might see a little time, and he might be good, but its too early to tell really. Jared Dudley is a really awesome stretch 4 who can also defend, even if he does not play a ton. This is a team with one super star in wall, and a couple other solid guys, and then not much else.
Matchups to watch:
John Wall vs. Playing: Wall is their best player, and its by a pretty wide margin. If he does not play they are really not a good team, not that it would seal the win for the Pistons, but if he isn't out there the Wizards will be in serious trouble.
Bench vs. Nene: Nene has had a couple of really good games against the Pistons. Please don't let this happen again, this also goes for the whole Wizards bench in general actually. They are not that good a bench, don't let them slaughter you plz.
Jackson vs. Wall: If Wall plays, this will be the best matchup to watch, and it is one that John Wall decidedly won the last time these teams played. But they are both pretty similar players, and they are both really good. Reggie has to at least go toe to toe with Wall if the Pistons want a real chance.
The Morrii: Given the roster makeup of the Pistons, there is a good chance the Morrii will go up against each other at least a few times in this game. Even if they were not twins it'd be cool because they are both good 1 on 1 scorers. Being twins makes it that much more fun.
Andre vs. Gortat: Gortat is the sort of combination of really strong and really disciplined that can give Andre some issues. Gortat has pretty near played Andre even the past couple times they've played each other (off the top of my head at least) and while Gortat is a good player, Andre needs to come clearly ahead of him in this matchup.
Pistons vs. Whatever happens when they play the Wiz: The Pistons have gotten slaughtered by the Wizards this season. I don't know if there is something specific that causes this, but just don't do that please.
Bullock? Reggie Bullock found himself back in the rotation, and balling out. If SVG plays him, and he keeps playing like this, it makes the offense of the bench actually kind of competent, because there is at least one dude on the floor who is a legit threat.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Wall doesn't play. Obviously you never root for guys to be hurt, but if he doesn't play this game will be much easier. (It better be at least)
Andre is managing to beat Gortat with regularity.
Run for the hills if:
John Wall plays and dominates Reggie again.
There is actually something the Wiz do that just screws with the Pistons and the Wiz lead by 30 at halftime.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
GREATER MOTHER FUCKING MORRIS
Reggie has a really good game whether Wall plays or not.
Andre is controlled by Gortat.
Pistons win a close and hard fought game to clinch the playoffs for the first time in way to long.
What do you think? Think Bullock will keep it up? Will SVG even play him? Let me know! We all get smarter!