Opponent Scouting: New York Knickerbockers. (17-64)
Tonight at 8:00pm EST the Pistons will close out their regular season on the road against the Knicks. Both the Pistons and Knicks are playing on back to backs and 3rd in 4 nights.
The Knicks are terrible, legitimately the worst team in the NBA. They are supposed to be without Alonzo Trier, Mario Hezonja, Emmanuel Mudiay, Frankie Smokes, Lance Thomas, Noah Vonleh, Damyean Dotson, and Kadeem Allen. Dennis Smith Jr. is also listed as questionable. Unlike the Grizzlies, who were actually trying to win (to convey as poor a pick as they could since they don’t own it) but just hella-injured, the Knicks have been actively tanking. Although they do already for sure have the worst record in the NBA so I suppose they don’t care if they happen to win this one.
If he plays, Dennis Smith is an explosive athlete who can score in bunches but has a lot of bad habits. Mitchell Robinson is a great athlete at center and blocks a ton of shots but is still very raw and wild at pretty much everything else. Kevin Knox has shown promise as a mutli-faceted wing but is not all that good for now. Henry Ellenson is here and has mostly played well. They’ve got a lot of largely unknowns in the rotation right now. I won’t pretend to have much to say about them because I don’t know.
Matchups to watch:
Blake vs. Just sitting it out: Said it in the recap of the last game. I respect and appreciate that he’s trying to play through the pain, but he can’t move. The last two games they were playing 4 on 5 when he was on the floor and they just can’t have that. We appreciate the desire Blake, but you being on the floor is doing more harm than good. Sit down and cheer on your mates and get better.
Andre Drummond vs. Mitchell Robinson: Given all the guys supposedly sitting this one out, Robinson might be their most potent player in this game. An explosive leaper, shot blocking artist, but also young, skinny, and prone to fouls. Andre should have little trouble with him but Robinson is one of the few guys who can leap with him.
Pistons wings vs. Hitting shots: With Blake either out or severely hobbled, the Pistons can’t really afford to have their wings go cold. Hit shots.
Luke vs. Letting fly: Got back in the groove in the second half, lets stay in that. When he’s taking and hitting shots the Piston bench and general wing rotation is much more potent.
Reggie Jackson vs. Getting it on: He made some big and very tough shots in the first half yesterday to keep it from getting totally out of hand, but they need him to bounce fully back from a few bad games. He’s largely been really good for a couple of months now, but if Blake is out/hobbled then they really need him.
Pistons vs. Finishing this: Please don’t blow it. The prospect of making the playoffs is not as appealing with Blake so hobbled, but they’ve come this far that it would be pretty devastating to miss at this point.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
The Pistons look a lot better with 5 functioning pair of legs on the floor.
Andre is dominating again.
The Knicks are ready for vacation.
Run for the hills if:
Blake tries to play again and it puts the Pistons in another huge hole.
The Pistons look gassed.
The Pistons lose.