Tonight the Pistons will be hosting the New Orleans Pelicans at the Palace of Auburn Hills at 7:30pm EST. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Celtics on Monday, while the Pelicans are on the second night of a back to back after losing to the Raptors last night.
The Pelicans have Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and very little else. They feature a mediocre offensive efficiency of 102.3 and a mediocre defensive rating of 104.4, although they have been noticeably better since Jrue Holiday returned to the lineup. They are fairly obviously lead into battle by Anthony Davis who puts up one of the most absurd per game stat lines you will see: 27.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.4 blocks, 1.3 steals, on a 57.3 TS%. That is pretty absurd, and he is every bit as good as those numbers seem, he does everything. Jrue Holiday joins him as the only other guy on the team who is objectively a really good player, with 15.5 points and 7.3 assists per game along with really good defense makes him a valuable player and a guy who has reminded a lot of people as to just how good he is. Beyond those two, Solomon Hill has been pretty miserable for them despite getting a fairly large contract and 27.8 minutes per game (he has played the 2nd most total minutes of anyone on the team) while scoring just 6.2 points per game on 37.9% from the field. Buddy Hield has turned it around after a miserable start to the season and is looking like a good draft pick at this point, Dante Cunningham is a nice role playing wing although it isn’t known if he will play tonight after hurting his wrist in their last game. E’Twaun Moore is a solid guard who does a little bit of everything. Terrence Jones has not found back the 3 point stroke he had shown in Houston, but he is still a good athlete who has real offensive touch and decent defensive feel to his game, Donatas Motiejunas has been pretty good for them since signing on with the team although he isn’t doing a ton for them at this point. Langston Galloway and Tim Frazier are both serviceable if not all that notable guards to have on the end of the bench.
This is a team with one incredible player, another very good one, and a bunch of misfits and castoffs of various sorts, they are dangerous on any night though because of Davis,
Matchups to watch:
- Pistons vs. Containing Davis: Last year Davis (rather famously) destroyed the Pistons to the tune of 62 points as a string of helpless defenders were tried on him until SVG finally went to Andre late in the game at which point the damage was mostly already done. With the Pelicans current rotations however, Andre will get a lot of time on him which should bode well for the Pistons since he is their most capable guy vs. Davis. Either way, don’t let him score 62 please.
- Pistons vs. Guarding the 3 point line: The Pistons have been getting torched from deep by teams lately, and for all that we can go “it’s an outlier and will correct itself” the Pistons certainly are not helping it to regress. They need to have crisper rotations, especially the guards, in order to not give up so many open 3s.
- Mobias vs. Pellies forwards: Other than Davis (who is only sort of a forward) the Pellicans do not have a lot of good players at either forward spot, Mobias should be able to take full advantage whenever Davis is at center.
- KCP vs. Getting right: Even though he ended up with a decent offensive night against the Celtics, it was buoyed by a pair of 3 shot trips to the free throw line. He just has not really looked right since coming back, and I’m a bit worried. Hopefully he is still working through his injury and he isn’t regressing, but if he could just hit a bunch of 3s tonight to ease my nerves it would be appreciated, speaking of 3s…
- Pistons vs Hitting some freaking 3s: If they shoot anywhere near to league average they win their last game. They are letting themselves get beat by teams that are inferior teams by not getting out to the 3 point line on defense, and by missing all of their own open 3s. Hit some 3s for my sanity please.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
- Andre is abusing Davis on the boards and containing him on defense.
- Mobias are roasting the various sad saps thrown at them.
- KCP is raining death with irrational confidence 3s.
Run for the hills if:
- Anthony Davis has 20 points in the first quarter.
- Jrue Holiday is eating Reggie’s lunch.
- The Pistons miss every 3 they take.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
- Andre has another huge game and plays great defense on Davis.
- Whenever it isn’t Andre, Davis is pretty much unstoppable.
- Jrue Holiday and Reggie Jackson go at each other a bunch in a fun duel.
- Pistons ride a big game from Andre and Reggie with good contributions from everyone else for a comfortable win.
What do you think? Can the Pistons hit some 3s? Can Andre contain Davis?