Tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST the Pistons will be welcoming the Spurs to the Palace. Both teams are on one day of rest with the Pistons beating the Lakers and the Spurs beating the Sixers on Wednesday.
In case you’ve lived under a rock for the last 20 some years, the Spurs are really good. They currently sport a excellent offensive efficiency of 110.3 and an excellent defensive efficiency of 101.3.
They are lead into battle by Kawhi Leonard, who has completely made a transition into being a bona-fide super duper star. (Making him something I have been quite wrong about) He is averaging 25.5 points on a TS% of 62.2%(!!!!!), 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and is going for his 3rd straight defensive player of the year award. LaMarcus Aldridge brings up 2nd in command averaging 17.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists and doing it fairly efficiently. Aldridge is a methodical post up scorer and a good defender as well. Danny Green is the perfect 3 and D player now that he has found his shot back to the tune of 40% from 3 this year to go along with excellent and versatile defense. Pau Gasol is hurt right now, and in his place the bouncey Dewayne Dedmon is injecting some athleticism and energy into the Spurs with rim running and effort. Tony Parker doesn’t do a ton these days, but he is still a water bug who knows how to run the offense. Patty Mills is one of the best backup PGs in the NBA who can score in a variety of ways whether maniac drives to the rim or sniping from deep (43% from 3 on 4.1 attempts) and high energy defense. Manu Ginobli has struggled a bit this year, but he is still a wily play maker. David Lee is having a nice resurgence bringing high effort and IQ off the bench. Jonathon Simmons is a athlete who has learned enough other skills to become a rock solid bench piece as well. Kyle Anderson has found himself as being, at the very least, a fairly competent NBA wing player who can pass and shoot.
The Spurs are a good team with a bunch of good players. They do literally everything well.
Matchups to watch:
- Andre vs. The Fishing village: Even with Gasol, the Spurs wouldn’t have a good answer for Andre, but at least Gasol can give him problems with his shooting. Dedmon plays hard but doesn’t figure to stand much of a chance hanging with Andre. The Spurs will get creative in getting Andre uncomfortable, and he won’t be able to do stupid crap in the post, but he could take over the paint on both ends in this game. And the Pistons will need him to do just that.
- Pistons vs Kawhi: Marcus will get most of the time on Kawhi, with Tobias and Stanley also likely to get their fair share. This might be a good opportunity for Stanley to get some extra playing time as well. Regardless of who is matched up with him, they need to keep him at least a little bit in check and not get totally swallowed up on the other end.
- Leuer/Tobias vs Aldridge: Aldridge is very good, and the Pistons still lack any good defensive option at the 4. Leuer can use his length to bother him a bit but probably not much more. I think Aldridge is going to be a problem.
- Reggie/KCP vs Waking up: The Pistons starting backcourt has been very quiet the last few games. (Since KCP’s career night) Part of that is because the last couple of games they haven’t really been needed, but they are likely to be needed tonight. They have not played poorly lately, but they will need to give more, and this game will be a good indicator of whether they were just sitting back and letting everyone else go the last couple of games, or if they both are actually in a slump.
- Bench mobs: This should be really fun. The Spurs bench lead by the speedy and Patty Mills, the crafty Manu, and fearless Simmons go against the Pistons bench mob lead by the speedy Ish, fluid Tobias, and fearless Stanley. The Spurs bench is probably better, but they both are good and play a fun style.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
- The Spurs have no answer for Andre.
- KCP starts raining death from beyond.
- The Pistons bench mob is out running the Spurs.
Run for the hills if:
- Kawhi is punking the Pistons on both ends of the floor.
- The Pistons don’t have a good answer for Aldridge.
- There is actually something wrong with KCP and Reggie.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
- Andre has another awesome game.
- Kawhi is a bit quiet (by his standards) but Aldridge has a big night.
- The bench mobs are super fun.
- The Pistons ride Andre with the backcourt coming back alive to a close victory.
- Pistons 102 – Spurs 97.
What do you think? Can the Pistons contain Kawhi? Can the Spurs contain Andre?