This afternoon at 5 p.pm. EST the Pistons will welcome the Knicks to the Palace. The Pistons are on one day of rest and the 3rd game in 4 nights after beating the Cavs on Thursday. The Knicks are on two days of rest after losing to the Bucks on Wednesday.
The Knicks have struggled this year and have slowly gone from “maybe a playoff team” to “probably a lottery team” to “actually pretty bad”. However, with that in mind, they are not a total cakewalk. They have a fairly serviceable offense with an offensive efficiency of 105.2, and a poor defensive efficiency of 108.6. The reports of Carmelo Anthony’s demise are greatly over-stated as he continues to average 23.1 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game and doing it efficiently. He hits difficult shots and is a good shooter from all over the floor. Kristaps Porzingis has made good on his promising rookie season to have an impressive sophomore season with 18.1 points and 7.3 boards per game and shooting 37.2% from deep. Derrick Rose can’t shoot at all but is averaging 17.9 points and 4.5 assists and isn’t too horribly inefficient. Courtney Lee remains a guy who is just a rock solid role player at SG who can shoot and play defense. Willy Hernangomez is young and fairly skilled as a big guy, but is not what you would call a stout defender. Lance Thomas has been mostly just bad, Kyle O’Quinn is a really nice backup center who can do a little bit of everything. Justin Holiday has been pretty solid for the Knicks all year as well with a well rounded game for an off guard.
The Knicks have a few good players, but they are lacking in depth and chemistry. So the end result is that they are not all that good a team, but they are able to play with most teams.
Matchups to watch:
- Andre vs The Fishing Village: The Knicks are pretty thin up front with Noah out for the rest of the season. Andre should have a good chance to dominate the interior on both sides of the ball. If he plays with the decisiveness and purpose he has lately the Knicks shouldn’t have an answer for him.
- Marcus vs Melo: Carmelo Anthony is really good, and also the exact kind of guy who Marcus has randomly played awesome against. If Marcus can pull out a really nice game and go toe to toe with Melo it will be good news for the Pistons.
- Pistons vs Porzingis: Porzingis is big at the 4 spot and that can give the Pistons problems regardless, but throw in the fact that he is very good and the Pistons could be in some trouble. Leuer is probably not good enough to stand much of a chance, and Morris/Tobias/Stanley will all be pretty undersized against him. Either way, he figures to be a problem.
- SVG vs Rotations: SVG has done some goofy stuff with his rotations the last few games, it will be interesting to see what he goes with tonight, the health of Aron Baynes is certain to have a say in this as well.
- Reggie Jackson vs Stringing good games together: Jackson is starting to look more like himself, not just statistically either, even in the Pacers game where he didn’t play all that well, he was still getting into the paint and to the rim. He will need to string together good games for a longer time than just the few games since the all star break for me to declare him “back” but it can take another step towards that tonight.
- KCP vs Getting his game going: KCP has actually played alright the past few games, but I do feel like he just hasn’t been all that involved offensively. Even though I am a fairly vocal proponent of him being mostly a role player, I do feel like they’ve let him slip out of the offense a little bit too much. Hopefully they can get him a few more looks tonight.
- Pistons vs The letdown: This game is pretty close to being the perfect storm for a let down, 3rd game in 4 nights coming off of a really big win against the Cavs. The possibility of getting to .500 for the first time in forever should light an bit of an extra fire in them, but still.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
- Andre is bullying the hell out of everyone on his way to a huge night.
- Marcus Morris is matching Melo.
- Reggie and KCP both are playing well.
Run for the hills if:
- Melo starts heating up.
- The Pistons clearly have no answer for Porzingis.
- The Pistons look dead tired.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
- Andre approaches a 20/20 game.
- Reggie and KCP have solid but not crazy games.
- The Pistons have problems with Porzingis.
- The Knicks struggle to get much going other than Porzingis and the Pistons win fairly comfortably.
- Pistons 105 – Knicks 90.
What do you think? Can the Knicks contain Andre? Can Reggie string together some good games?