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Chris Paul could teach Rodney Stuckey a lesson when Pistons face Hornets

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons at New Orleans Hornets

Date: Dec. 8, 2010

Time: 8 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 7-15

Hornets: 13-7

Probable starters

Pistons:

Hornets:

  • Chris Paul
  • Marco Belinelli
  • Trevor Ariza
  • David West
  • Emeka Okafor

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +10

Over/under: 187

Score: Hornets win, 98.5-88.5

Three things to watch

1. Chris Paul’s tempo management

Nobody thinks Chris Paul is slow, right? Since Paul joined the Hornets, they’ve had the league’s 21st, 23rd, 26th, 28th, 15th (when Paul played just 45 games) and 26th. He’s a master at using his speed within a halfcourt offense.

I understand Rodney Stuckey wants to run more, but if I’m John Kuester, I tell Stuckey to pay attention to Paul tonight. If Stuckey learns to play quickly in the halfcourt, that could make everyone a lot happier.

2. Interior matchups

I think David West is a tough assignment for Jason Maxiell. I’ll be surprised if Maxiell can bother West’s mid-range jumpers. (Then again, I was surprised how well Maxiell handled Rashard Lewis.)

I still think Maxiell is best against low-post threats, even those with significant height advantages on the Piston power forward. Maxiell has the strength to push opponents off the block, and that would be helpful against Emeka Okafor.

Ben Wallace, who’s more comfortable on the perimeter than Maxiell, would probably have an easier time with West.

I’m curious whether the Pistons invert their power forward-center defensive assignments.

3. Charlie Villanueva’s return

Charlie Villanueva was set to return to the team tonight, according to Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. I haven’t seen any change in those plans, so I assume that’s still the plan.

Pregame reading

Tags: Ben Wallace Charlie Villanueva Jason Maxiell Rodney Stuckey

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