Well, the second half of the season hasn’t been kind to the Detroit Pistons, to say the least.
The Pistons’ started off their post-All-Star campaign on the wrong foot with a lopsided loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and back-to-back maulings from the Pacers, and a monster effort from Al Horford (23 points, 22 rebounds) drove the Hawks to a 114-103 win, dropping the Pistons’ post-All-Star Break record to 1-4.
Now, the Pistons look to put their lofty 7-19 road record to the test against the Washington Wizards, a team they may actually be capable of beating. The teams’ last meeting – the final game before the All-Star Break – resulted in a 96-85 Pistons win, led by a 24-point effort from Jose Calderon and a 20 point, 8 assist game from reserve guard Will Bynum.
Bynum is expected to return to the lineup tonight. He missed Monday’s game due to a one-game suspension for sucker punching the Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough. His return will bolster a backcourt that – apart from a solid game from Rodney Stuckey – largely struggled on both ends Monday against the Hawks. Combo guard Brandon Knight participated in today’s shootaround, but remains questionable with a hyperextended right knee.
Tonight’s game will be important for a Pistons squad looking to regain its footing after a slow start to the half. The offense returned to passable levels against Atlanta, but the defense left much to be desired. Interior defense was a major issue, particularly against Horford and Josh Smith, who combined for 46 points on 19-of-30 shooting.
After tonight, they’ll travel to New Orleans to face the Hornets before beginning an extremely rough month of March featuring games against San Antonio, New York, Dallas, LAC, Utah, Golden State, and Miami. The team still looks to be in limbo without talented rookie Andre Drummond – who could return by mid- to late-March – and could be in for a rough finish to the season.
For now, though, they hope to head to San Antonio with some momentum. A win over the Wizards would be a good starting point.
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