Charlie Villanueva will miss Tracy McGrady’s return to Houston

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets

Date: Dec. 7, 2010

Time: 8:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 7-14

Rockets: 7-13

Probable starters

Pistons:

Rockets:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Kevin Martin
  • Shane Battier
  • Luis Scola
  • Chuck Hayes

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +7

Over/under: 201

Score: Rockets win, 104-97

Three things to watch

1. More small ball

The Pistons used small ball with great success against Cleveland on Sunday. I expect them to turn to that lineup again tonight.

Tayshaun Prince has made it pretty clear he doesn’t like the strategy, but he might have to go with it tonight. One of Prince’s biggest gripes is when he plays forward, he must often guard centers on the pick-and-roll. But Houston has one of the league’s smallest centers in 6-foot-6 Chuck Hayes. So, that might mitigate problem.

2. No Charlie Villanueva

Charlie Villanueva didn’t travel with the team, according to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. I think it’s a sign of progress for Villanueva that we all didn’t immediately assume this was a silent suspension.

3. The Rockets’ level of play

Houston has been one of the league’s most disappointing teams. Who would have thought they’d lead the Pistons by only half a game? I’m at a bit of a loss to explain their struggles. Are they this bad or a sleeping giant?

Three wins, including victories over the Lakers and Thunder, in their last five games suggest the former.

Pregame reading

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Tags: Charlie Villanueva Tayshaun Prince Tracy McGrady

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