Date: Nov. 21, 2010
Time: 6 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Detroit Plus (Here’s the channel guide)
Las Vegas projection
Spread: Detroit -3.5
Score: Pistons win, 100.75-93.75
Three things to watch
1. Jason Maxiell is starting for Austin Daye.
When John Kuester made his pronouncement that matchups would dictate who starts at the four, it was assumed that Maxiell would start against burlier frontlines and Daye would play against the less physical combos. I guess I didn’t think the Wizards combo of JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche were known for physicality, but apparently Kuester didn’t like something about Daye matching up with them. Personally, I thought the Wizards would be one of the few teams Daye wouldn’t be at a complete physical disadvantage against this season. He’d still be at some disadvantage, but McGee is relatively slight of frame and Blatche, although he’s certainly … uh … filled out some, isn’t known for being a punishing post-up player. Something worth paying attention to though: as Vincent Goodwill points out, the last time Daye didn’t start, he didn’t play at all. There’s really no reason to keep him out against the Wizards, so it will be interesting to see how much Daye plays and at what position.
2. Wizards might be without Wall, but Arenas has been good.
John Wall is unlikely to return from injury today, but that’s not necessarily going to get the Pistons off the hook. Gilbert Arenas is averaging nearly 21 points and 4 assists per game while shooting 45 percent (while above his career shooting percentage) over the last four games. Arenas got off to a bit of a slow start this season, but he’s starting to look more and more like the pre-injury Gil who used to score points in bunches when the Wizards played the Pistons. The last time he played a full season (All the way back in 2006 … wow. Doesn’t really feel that long ago) he averaged 27 a game against Detroit.
3. Will the Pistons respond to criticism?
Phil Jackson had the kick to the ribs comment after the last Pistons game, when he said there were guys who didn’t seem to be playing hard. The true mark of teams that legitimately aren’t playing hard is that it doesn’t really bother them when people say things like Jackson said. Teams that do legitimately have pride typically respond with better effort in an attempt to prove their accuser(s) wrong. The Pistons, similar to the game against the Clippers, have another game they should win, this time at home, against a bad team depleted by injuries. And hey, Flip Saunders returns to the Palace. How they respond today will certainly go a long way in determining if Jackson’s statement is as accurate as it seemed at the time.