Opponent Scouting: San Antonio Spurs. (33-29)
Tonight at 8:30pm EST the Pistons will be on the road to face the Spurs. The Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Pacers on Monday, while the Spurs are also on one day of rest after losing to Brooklyn. The Spurs have lost all 3 games since the break and 7 of their last 8.
The Spurs are good, but they are not that good. They come into the game with the 8th offense in the NBA and the 23rd defense. Yes, a Greg Popovich team is ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency. This Spurs team isn’t the same.
That said, they are still a solid team. DeMar DeRozan is the same mid-range artist who draws fouls and gets to the rim. He’s also spent a lot of time as the de-facto point-guard with the Spurs losing Dejounte Murray. LaMarcus Aldridge is as good as ever, scoring from the left side of the floor in the mid-range, drawing fouls, and still a high-level defender. Those two dudes are legit and they can beat you on their own if they get going.Rudy Gay is having a nice bounce-back season as well, scoring 14 points on great efficiency and shooting the three-ball well.
After that, it gets pretty grim. Bryn Forbes has played pretty well but he’s a point guard who doesn’t really play point-guard, same with Derrick White. Patty Mills is a blast and very good but he can only do so much, Marco Bellinelli can shoot, Davis Bertans is tall and can shoot. Dante Cunningham has filled in pretty well, Jakob Poeltl is the same guy, Pau Gasol is mostly out of the rotation.
This is a team hanging on by a thread, DeRozan and Aldridge are awesome, but there isn’t much else here. And Pistons fans this season know how hard it can be to win when you’ve got two guys who can ball and the rest of the roster is weak.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Chase that 6th seed! The Pacers are without Oladipo and the Celtics have been uninspiring. The Sixers may get to 3rd which would be a bummer but still, let’s go get the 6th seed. The Nets beat this team a couple of nights ago, follow it up.
Andre vs. Minimal resistance: Davis Bertans can shoot which will give Andre some issues, but Andre should have his way everywhere else. Bertans isn’t strong enough or athletic enough to hang with Andre.
Blake vs. Having a big game: He’s looked a bit off the last three games. It’d make me feel better if he just had a huge game so I don’t have to worry about something being actually wrong.
Blake vs. Aldridge: Premier matchup. Both guys are awesome, both are big, strong, and physical. Should be fun.
Pistons vs. DeRozan: The Pistons will miss Stanley Johnson tonight. Hopefully Bruce Brown and Wayne Ellington ate their wheaties this morning.
SHOOT IT LUKE: Yeah. Keep doing what you did the last two games my guy.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre has a double-double at half-time.
Blake is ready to assert himself.
Luke Kennard is punking people.
Run for the hills if:
“DeRozan hits another jumper over the smaller defender”
Bertans’ shooting really messes up the Pistons defense.
The bench goes back to being terrible.
Opportunities for me to look stupid: