Detroit Pistons visit Brooklyn Nets

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (27-48) at Indiana Pacers (52-33)
  • Date: April 2, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Nets have unquestionably been a vastly superior team to the Pistons this season. Admittedly, they started the season by vying for the most disappointing team in the league with a 10-21 record. But in spite of the bumpy beginning, they have rebounded quite nicely by going 30-13 since then. They look fairly likely to finish with the fifth seed in the East.

The Pistons have gone the other way. They had a mildly disappointing 14-16 start to the season but have completely fallen off the rails since then, going 13-32. They are a near lock to finish with the eleventh seed in the East.

However, Detroit has improbably seemed to have Brooklyn’s number this season. So far, they are a perfect 3-0 with only one of those games being close. Tonight, the Nets try to avoid joining the Sacramento Kings as the only teams to be swept this year by a depressing Pistons squad.

This game should pit both teams’ strengths against the other’s weaknesses. Brooklyn is 28th in the league in defensive rebounding while Detroit is far and away the league’s best offensive rebounding team. Second place Sacramento is closer to 15th place Oklahoma City than to Detroit. Meanwhile, Detroit’s bottom ten three-point defense (both in percentage and overall makes) gets to match up against Brooklyn’s top ten three-point offense.

For the Pistons, watch for Drummond to dominate tonight. The Nets’ big men (Blatche, Plumlee, and Teletovic) should be overmatched against him. On Brooklyn’s side, Joe Johnson has been tearing it up ever since an entirely undeserved all-star berth. He has been averaging 18 points, 4 boards, and 3 dimes with 49/44/85 shooting splits over his past 23 games. We’ll see if any of Singler, Stuckey, or Caldwell-Pope can slow him down.

Much as the Pistons have suffered from serious defensive woes this year, the Nets are the sort of plodding, methodical team they should match up well against, as long as they can cover the three-point arc. And while the Nets can clog the lane against Detroit just like every other team does, they don’t have anyone to actually dissuade Pistons from attempting to score near the rim.

I am normally a strong believer in flukes when it comes to small samples like a 3-0 record, but this is actually a good match-up for Detroit. Still count on Brooklyn to come out with the win, but the Pistons could scare both their own fans and Brooklyn’s by threatening to pull it out.

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