- Teams: Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder
- Date: Jan. 23, 2012
- Time: 8 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Detroit
- Pistons: 4-13
- Thunder: 13-3
- Russell Westbrook
- Thabo Sefolosha
- Kevin Durant
- Serge Ibaka
- Kendrick Perkins
Las Vegas projection
Spread: Pistons +13.5
Score: Thunder win, 100-86.5
Three things to watch
1. Rodney Stuckey’s passion
Rodney Stuckey had his best game of the season against the Trail Blazers on Saturday, but he rarely shows supreme focus, drive and execution for two straight games.
Once upon a time, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com was certain Stuckey saw Russell Westbrook making the USA Select Team ahead of him as a slight. History hasn’t quite vindicated that opinion. Patrick and I recently debated whether Westbrook is one of the NBA’s top 10 players. I’m not convinced Stuckey belongs in the top 100.
If Stuckey has his competitive juices flowing tonight, I’ll be surprised – and pleased.
2. Greg Monroe vs. two good defenders
When players legitimately become offensive centerpieces, they often see opponents throw different types defenders at them throughout a game. Royce Young of Daily Thunder expects the physically imposing Kendrick Perkins and fleet-of-foot Serge Ibaka to each guard Monroe tonight. It will be a good test for Monroe as he moves toward becoming the focal point of the Pistons’ offense.
3. No sneaking
The Thunder are an elite team, but like all elite teams, they’re not invincible. A loss of focus, and even one of the NBA’s worst teams could beat them. Unfortunately for the Pistons, Oklahoma City already had its slipup – a loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, which was the Thunder’s only loss in their last nine games.