Keys to the game: Detroit Pistons versus Oklahoma City Thunder

Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond and Oklahoma City Thunder Steven Adams. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond and Oklahoma City Thunder Steven Adams. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons travel to Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in an important playoff seeding battle for both teams.

The Detroit Pistons aren’t in the most comfortable spot in the eastern conference. They sit only a one game ahead of the 9th seeded Miami Heat. And only half a game ahead of the 7th and 8th seed Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic.

The Oklahoma City Thunder on the other hand sit at the 7th seed and only half a game head of the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder are surely looking to avoid facing the Golden State Warriors in round one.

The Pistons last faced the Thunder back in December after their impressive win against the Golden State Warriors. The game versus the Thunder was almost the turning point of the season for the Pistons. They went from playing great to playing terrible.

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Steven Adams lit up the Pistons with 21 points on 7 for 8 shooting. Overall the Thunder shot 50.6 percent from the floor and out rebounded the Pistons 52 to 41. Andre Drummond has always struggled to rebound well against Oklahoma.

Three Keys to the game

  1. Win the rebounding battle. There is no surprise that Drummond sorta struggles against Oklahoma. Both Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams are terrific rebounders. Add the addition of Nerlens Noel, and Jerami Grant, it’s almost hard to rebound against that team. They are second in the entire league in rebounds per game at 48. Andre Drummond, Thon Maker, and game time decision Blake Griffin have to rebound as a committee. They have to limit offense rebound opportunities that Steven Adams creates.
  2. Out score the Oklahoma bench. Oklahoma has a pretty solid bench with Dennis Schroder, Noel, and now Markieff Morris. Schroder has been a Pistons killer in his time with Atlanta and Morris has been known to hit jumper after jumper against the Pistons. Noel could easily erupt for double-digits if Zaza Pachulia doesn’t cover him correctly. Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, and Ish Smith cannot combine for 5 for 27 from the floor again. Kennard and Galloway have to find themselves open shots by moving without the ball.
  3. Get to the free throw line. The Pistons haven’t done the best job getting to the free throw line. With and without Blake, they are getting less and less calls. The Pistons are going to have to get aggressive getting to the rim and force players like Steven Adams to foul to stop a score.

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Tipoff starts at 8PM Eastern Standard Time.