Pistons Look to Start Strong Following the All-Star Break


The Detroit Pistons look to start strong post all-star break.

The Detroit Pistons played some uninspired basketball the last week before the all-star break and finished with three straight losses. Several factors went in to that poor stretch, including not having their best defender, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

The Pistons look to be at full strength tonight, including the addition of Tobias Harris, their newly-acquired prize from the Orlando Magic. The status of their trade acquisitions from Thursday’s trade with the Rockets, Motiejunas and Thornton, is still unknown. Although their playing in tonight’s game is highly unlikely.

The Washington Wizards come into the game tonight in the middle of the only back-to-back-to-back this season. No NBA team has been subjected to a schedule including three games in three nights since the 2012 lockout season, but due to weather issues earlier this season, the Wizards start their post-break schedule with two at home, and one on the road.

While the Pistons were highly active at the trade deadline, the Wizards made a deal of their own, trading for Markieff Morris minutes before the 3 p.m. deadline. Morris’ status for tonight is not yet determined, although it looks unlikely with all the steps necessary to be cleared to play.

Key Questions to Consider:

How does Caldwell-Pope look coming back from injury? KCP slipped on a wet spot in Boston two weeks ago and the injury seemed serious as Caldwell-Pope recounted hearing a “pop” when he took the fall. Fortunately, he was able to come back after missing only four games with what was called a “core muscle strain”. KCP will need to have his usual mobility tonight as he will probably be matched up on John Wall for at least a portion of the night.

Can Steve Blake possibly lead a decent bench unit? The Steve Blake fury began on November 3rd when the Pistons were up by eight points on the Pacers at the Palace with two minutes to go in the first quarter. By the time Reggie Jackson & Co. came back in with seven minutes left in the second quarter, the Pistons were down 16. That is just one of many examples this season that Steve Blake has struggled to lead a quality second unit for the Pistons. Those minutes with Reggie off the floor are more crucial than they have been in months.

Can the Pistons win against a quality opponent on the road? The last time the Pistons got a win on the road against a quality team was three and a half weeks ago against the Utah Jazz. The quality of the Jazz is certainly debatable, but that long of a stretch shows you how this team struggles away from home. If the Pistons want to sneak into the playoffs, they will need to win games on the road against other teams vying for those final playoff spots.

My Prediction:

Washington is slightly favored in this game, but I see the Pistons taking one on the road tonight. The Wizards will be challenged mentally and physically in this middle game of a back-to-back-to-back, and the Pistons will capitalize.

106-98 Pistons