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Archive → April, 2009

Professional Game Coverage: Chicago 91, Detroit 88

Detroit News

Pistons lose, will finish eighth in the East,” by Chris McCosky

In one bad loss to a lottery-bound team, the Pistons went from thinking about stealing the fifth spot in the East to being almost resigned to the eighth spot.

“There is no worst-case scenario for us right now,” said Tayshaun Prince, after the Pistons’ fourth-quarter rally fell short in a 106-102 loss to the Pacers Saturday. “The way we’ve played all year, the best-case scenario is that we got into the playoffs. Hopefully we can go in there and do some damage.”

The loss means the Pistons have to beat Chicago Monday and Miami Wednesday to avoid finishing eighth and facing Cleveland in the first round.

Richard Hamilton: Flip Saunders is a good choice for Wizards,” by Chris McCosky

Antonio McDyess just shook his head.

“(Monday) just summed up the way we’ve been playing the whole season,” he said, after the Pistons kicked away a 91-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls. “We were up in the fourth quarter and we let the game go.”

The loss dooms the Pistons to the eighth spot in the East and a first-round match against the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.

Detroit Free Press

Chance of beating the Cavs? Zilch!,” by Michael Rosenberg

In the locker room, Rasheed Wallace looked distraught, which is how he always is when he blames himself. He’d missed a potential game-winning three-pointer with eight seconds left.

Arron Afflalo tried to tell him that one play doesn’t decide a game. Wallace got up and walked away.

So say that for the Pistons: they wanted this one badly. Unfortunately, the desire came too late in the season for a team that has much better talent than its 39-42 record indicates.

What Wallace surely knew is that the Pistons ended up with their worst possible playoff opponent. Entering this game, there were three options, and none of them were good options, but hey, this is what the Pistons get for underachieving all year. You can’t blow off auditions and ask to be cast as the lead.

Pistons drop lead late in battle for No. 7 seed,” by Vince Ellis

Pistons forward Antonio McDyess slowly walked off the Palace floor Monday night wearing the same forlorn look he has sported many times this season.

The Pistons’ postseason fate had just become known after their close 91-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Pistons must now face NBA’s best in first round,” by Vince Ellis

Curry didn’t know how he would approach the regular-season finale Wednesday night at Chicago, now that there’s nothing at stake.

In years past, the Pistons would rest regulars this time of the season because their seeding would be decided.

But Curry feels it could be a blessing that the team has had to fight and scratch almost all the way through to the end.

“But when I look at it, it might not be such a bad thing because the games that we’ve missed, hopefully we can keep a rhythm going into the weekend of the playoffs instead of tonight being the last game for about three guys and they don’t play again until Saturday and then we try to get a rhythm again,” Curry said.

Instant replay,” by Vince Ellis

Backup center Kwame Brown showed little ill effect from the strained left hamstring that sidelined him for Saturday’s loss at Indiana.

The Grand Rapids Press

Pistons locked into No. 8 seed after losing to Bulls,” by Greg Johnson

McDyess missed three shots in the closing 49 seconds, and he messed up a pick play that resulted in Rodney Stuckey getting his shot blocked by Chicago rookie point guard Derrick Rose with 35 seconds remaining and the score tied at 88.

Ben Gordon, the Bulls’ shooting guard, scored on a driving layup with 15 seconds remaining to provide the winning points.

“You know, I put this whole game on me this time,” McDyess said. “I definitely felt like I lost this game.”

Pistons hope experience helps against Cavaliers,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

“Experience is huge when it comes to the playoffs,” Detroit coach Michael Curry said after the Pistons dropped a 91-88 game to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

“During the regular season, it matters, but not as much as it does in the playoffs. And so, we will be depending on that.”

Chicago Tribune

Bulls evade Cavaliers in first round with win,” by K.C. Johnson

Little has been easy about this Bulls season. Heck, Derrick Rose even lost a tussle with an apple cutter.

So Monday’s 91-88 victory over the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills shouldn’t surprise. It should merely satisfy.

Overcoming extremely physical play, their own road woes, Brad Miller’s ejection and a hostile crowd, the Bulls took a half-game lead over Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference’s sixth seed and guaranteed themselves no worse than a seventh-place finish.

Bulls’ Gordon has showcase game vs. Pistons,” by K.C. Johnson

The Pistons are one of the few teams this off-season armed with salary-cap space, roughly $22 million.

Ben Gordon arrived as the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week with a team-leading scoring average of 20.7 points per game. And he capped Monday by scoring the go-ahead layup with 14.6 seconds left. 

Can you say showcase game?

“I’m not even thinking about that stuff,” Gordon said. “I’m just going to keep my options open this summer and see what happens.”

Chicago Sun-Times

6-shooters get it done for Bulls,” by Brian Hanley

 Too bad the Bulls and Detroit Pistons can’t meet in the opening round of the playoffs.

Because if this game that had as many bodies falling as shots was any indication, the series would rekindle the vintage Bad Boys-Bulls postseason get-togethers of the early ’90s.

Bull notes,” by  Brian Hanley

With one regular-season game remaining, Ben Gordon is assured of leading the team in scoring for the fourth consecutive season.

Gordon, who was named conference player of the week Monday, scored 19 against the Detroit Pistons on Monday and has a 20.7 average, more than two points better than his career mark (18 ppg). Some wondered whether his contract stalemate with the Bulls last summer would have a negative impact.

The team pulled its final offer of six years and $58 million off the table at the deadline, leaving Gordon as a restricted free agent to sign a one-year qualifying offer of $6.4 million.

”A lot of people expected me to come out this year and kind of cry and pout and everything like that,” Gordon said. ”I did exactly the opposite. That’s always going to be my stance regardless what’s going on. I take pride in trying to handle myself in a professional manner. I think I’ve definitely been able to do that.”

Game Review: Pistons stuck in eighth with loss to Bulls

The Pistons looked good in a playoff-style game with the Bulls last night, but the odds they advance in the playoffs just took a big hit.

With a 91-88 loss to Chicago, Detroit will have the eighth seed and a first-round matchup with Cleveland.

Yeah, the Cleveland that beat the Pistons 3-1 in the season series and outscored Detroit by 7.5 points per game. Those are the Cavaliers who have homecourt advantage and a 39-1 record at Quicken Loans Arena, too. Stretching the series to six games should probably be considered a success.

And it’s a shame that’s Detroit’s fate.

In their biggest game of the season, the Pistons played the best they have in a while.

Detroit and Chicago were evenly matched. They fought from start to finish, dove all over the court, played physical — and most importantly, played well.

The game looked like a four-five matchup in the first round.

The Bulls are playing their best basketball of the season. They’ve won five in a row, nine of 11 and 12 of 15.

And the Pistons are still 8-5 when Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace both play and Allen Iverson doesn’t. That clip would give the Pistons 50 wins over the course of a full season and put them comfortably in fourth place in the East.

To make matters more impressive, eight of those games were against playoff teams (including two wins over Orlando and one over Boston). And most of those games were on the road.

So, as the Pistons and Bulls battled last night, it looked like either could advance to the second round as long they stayed out of the eight spot — especially Detroit, which led by 11 in the second half. Matt McHale of Bulls By The Horns had this to say at halftime:

‘I bet when the Pistons turn the screws in the second half, Chicago will wilt.”

Not quite.

The Bulls ended the game on an 8-1 run. The Pistons didn’t score in the final 2:42, and they didn’t make a basket in the final 4:19.

In the final three minutes, Detroit made bonehead play after bonehead play:

  • Richard Hamilton threw a bullet pass near nobody out of bounds (Rasheed Wallace may have been in the wrong spot).
  • Wallace weakly fouled Rose on a layup that went for an and-one.
  • Rodney Stuckey forced a jumper in an attempt to get a two-for-one that Derrick Rose blocked.
  • After getting an offensive rebound, Antonio McDyess took a desperate jumper thinking time was about to expire when five seconds were left.

And somehow, I was encouraged by the Pistons’ play.

This was a flat-out fun game. Detroit had life. I wanted to watch six more games of the matchups:

  • Stuckey and Rose looking to prove themselves as the young point guard more suited to lead their team for the next decade.
  • Hamilton and Ben Gordon trying to match each other point for point.
  • Wallace and McDyess attempting to prove their veteran savvy is more meaningful than Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah’s athleticism.
  • Kwame Brown, a former No. 1 draft pick, and Brad Miller, who was undrafted, battling to be the best role player on the court.

Detroit-Chicago would be a great playoff series. For my money, these are the fourth- and fifth-best teams in the East right now.

And the way the Pistons are playing, Boston-Detroit or Orlando-Detroit would have been pretty entertaining, too.

The Pistons aren’t perfect, but they’re peaking.

Stuckey is hitting his jumpers and not turning the ball over (16 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and one turnover last night).

Hamilton is scoring efficiently again (25 points on 19 shots)

Wallace and McDyess have their legs underneath them (18 points, 19 rebounds, four blocks and no turnovers combined).

It’s too bad Detroit has to face Cleveland, ranked first in John Hollinger’s power rankings.

Everything is just starting to click.

Live Blog: Detroit vs. Chicago

Flip to Washington almost done

Flip Saunders is finalizing his contract with the Wizards, according Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. I wonder how Gilbert Arenas will take the news (via TrueHoop).

Here’s some pregame reading:

Be sure to check back at 7:30 for a live blog of tonight’s Pistons-Bulls game. We’ll be joined for a bit by Matt McHale of Bulls By The Horns.

Game Preview: Detroit vs. Chicago

Essentials

Date: April 13, 2009

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 39-41

Chicago: 40-40

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Antonio
McDyess
Rasheed
Wallace

Chicago:

PG SG SF PF C

Derrick
Rose
Ben
Gordon
John
Salmons
Tyrus
Thomas
Joakim
Noah

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit -4

Over/under: 196.5

Score: Detroit wins 100-96

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 107.5 (21st)

Detroit defensive rating: 107.9 (14th)

Detroit pace: 86.8 (29th)

Chicago offensive rating: 108.5 (14th)

Chicago defensive rating: 108.7 (18th)

Chicago pace: 93.1 (9th)

Score: Tie 97-97

Outlook

If the Bulls win, the Pistons will be the eighth seed and face Cleveland in the first round. For an explanation of scenarios if Detroit wins, check out this post.

The Bulls have been hot, hotter and peaking. They’ve won four in a row, eight of 10 and 11 of 14. In the stretch, Chicago’s offensive and defensive rating have improved.

And the Bulls are playing at a faster pace. The Pistons struggled Saturday with the Pacers, who have become more of a run and gun team as the season has progressed.

Derrick Rose has limited his turnovers and improved his jump shooting as of late. And Joakim Noah has really elevated his game, too.

A silver lining for the Pistons: the Bulls have lost two in a row and nine of their last 11 on the road.

For more on Chicago, check out Bulls By The Horns.

Breaking down the Pistons’ playoff scenarios

The top five teams in the Eastern Conference have clinched their playoff seed, but the last three seeds are up for grabs between Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit.

The Pistons’ ideal first-round opponent is Orlando, which has the third seed. The Pistons have played the Magic extremely well because Detroit doesn’t have to double team Dwight Howard.

Boston, the second seed, would be the Pistons’ second-best option with Kevin Garnett out or still affected by a knee injury.

Cleveland, the top seed, is the worst-case scenario. The Cavaliers have the league’s best record. There’s no clear vulnerability here.

So, there’s no trick here for positioning. The more the Pistons win, the better chance they have to get a more favorable first-round matchup.

If Chicago beats Detroit tonight, the Pistons will be the eighth seed and face Cleveland in the first round. So, since that’s so simple, everything going forward assumes Detroit wins tonight.

Philadelphia wins at least one

If Philadelphia beats either Boston tomorrow or Cleveland on Wednesday, the 76ers are guaranteed the sixth seed an a first-round matchup with Orlando. Philadelphia holds the tiebreaker Detroit and Chicago or if all three times are tied.

If Detroit beats Miami or Chicago loses to Toronto on Wednesday, the Pistons would be the seventh seed and face Boston in the first round.

Detroit would hold the tiebreaker over Chicago because they have a better conference record than the Bulls.

If the Pistons loses to Miami and Chicago beats Toronto, Detroit would be the eighth seed.

Philadelphia loses two

If Philadelphia loses to Boston tomorrow and Cleveland on Wednesday, Detroit would have more room to climb in the standings.

A win over Miami would give the Pistons the sixth seed. A loss to Miami and a Bulls’ loss to Toronto would give Detroit the seventh seed.

If the Pistons lose to Miami and Chicago beats Toronto, Detroit would be the eighth seed.

Professional Game Coverage: Indiana 106, Detroit 102

Detroit News

Pistons’ win streak ends at three,” by Chris McCosky

In one bad loss to a lottery-bound team, the Pistons went from thinking about stealing the fifth spot in the East to being almost resigned to the eighth spot.

“There is no worst-case scenario for us right now,” said Tayshaun Prince, after the Pistons’ fourth-quarter rally fell short in a 106-102 loss to the Pacers Saturday. “The way we’ve played all year, the best-case scenario is that we got into the playoffs. Hopefully we can go in there and do some damage.”

The loss means the Pistons have to beat Chicago Monday and Miami Wednesday to avoid finishing eighth and facing Cleveland in the first round.

Post-up strategy doesn’t work,” by Chris McCosky

The Pistons wanted to post up Indiana’s small guards. No way could T.J. Ford, at 5-foot-10, guard Richard Hamilton, at 6-7, right?

Wrong.

The Pistons tried to force the ball into Hamilton on most of the possessions of the third quarter and the end result was a 3 for 12 shooting quarter by Hamilton, a stagnated Pistons offense, and a flurry of 3-pointers by the Pacers that put the Pistons in a 12-point hole early in the fourth quarter of their 106-102 loss Saturday.

“We wanted to post because it helps us tempo the game,” coach Michael Curry said. “They are coming into the game trying to score 110 or more and we had it down around 100. We will take that.”

Sound theory, but it failed in practice.

Detroit Free Press

With loss, Pistons inch closer to first-round series against LeBron, Cavs,” by Vince Ellis

Another sterling effort from Bynum was wasted. The backup point guard either scored or assisted on 18 of the Pistons’ last 22 points. He finished with 16 points, six assists and even grabbed four rebounds as starting point guard Rodney Stuckey spent the entire fourth quarter on the bench.

Pacers’ speedy point guards give Pistons fits,” by Vince Ellis

Indiana used two point guards – Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford — exclusively in the fourth quarter, and the Pistons had problems defensively down the stretch falling, 106-102, at Conseco Fieldhouse.

In the fourth quarter the duo combined for 14 points and four assists as the Pacers (35-45) scored 28 points to hold off a Pistons’ (39-41) comeback. They finished with a combined 36 points and 11 assists.

Team has tools to win — strong bench, postseason experience,” by Vince Ellis

The Pistons have a 5-6 record against Cleveland, Boston and Orlando, although that’s inflated by their 3-0 record vs. the Magic. But all three are the type of teams the Pistons have had success against this season — teams with size.

That’s because the Pistons are a big team with 6-foot-11 Rasheed Wallace, 6-11 Kwame Brown and frontcourt strongmen AntonioMcDyess and Jason Maxiell.

Instant replay,” by Vince Ellis

Wallace picked up his 17th technical foul of the season. If he gets another in the last two games, he earns a one-game suspension. Luckily, the clock resets for the postseason.

Booth Newspapers

Pistons lose battle of boards, fall to Indiana,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

On the opening tipoff, the Indiana Pacers got four shots at the basket before they scored.

It would serve as an omen for what the Detroit Pistons were in store for Saturday, as Indiana’s dominance on the offensive boards in the first half played a major role in Detroit’s 106-102 loss.

The Pistons gave up 14 offensive rebounds in the first half, which led to 22 points for the Pacers.

Pistons still looking to improve as playoffs near,” by A. Sherrod Blakely

O’Brien spent a season coaching Allen Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers coach knows how talented Iverson is, and he also realizes it’s difficult to mix a player of his skill set with a veteran Pistons team.

O’Brien said he wasn’t surprised that Iverson didn’t mesh well with the Pistons after he was traded from Denver to Detroit for Chauncey Billups last November.

“It’s like oil and water, absolutely,” O’Brien said.

Iverson averaged 17.4 points and 4.9 assists in 54 games with Detroit.

Team officials shut him down the rest of the season earlier this month so he could rest his injured back. The announcement came days after Iverson said he’d “rather retire” than come off the bench.

“I’m not surprised,” O’Brien said when asked about the Iverson experiment not working out. “He’s a great player when the lights come on, but I think to be in a situation where they put Rip Hamilton on the bench, it caused some challenges.”

The Indianapolis Star

Jarret Jack leads spirited effort for Pacers,” by Mike Wells

The standings say the Indiana Pacers already have been eliminated from making the playoffs.

They don’t seem to care. They are playing like a postseason spot is still on the line.

The Pacers responded from blowing a double-digit lead earlier in the fourth quarter to beat the playoff-bound Detroit Pistons 106-102 Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

“Like I’ve been saying, the commitment you make as an NBA player is you play 82 games, regardless if you’re playing for the playoffs or you’re not in the playoffs,” Pacers guard Jarrett Jack said. “You go about it in a professional manner, and I think that’s what everybody is doing.”

O’Brien wants Jack, Ford back,” by Mike Wells

O’Brien spent a season coaching Allen Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers coach knows how talented Iverson is, and he also realizes it’s difficult to mix a player of his skill set with a veteran Pistons team.

O’Brien said he wasn’t surprised that Iverson didn’t mesh well with the Pistons after he was traded from Denver to Detroit for Chauncey Billups last November.

“It’s like oil and water, absolutely,” O’Brien said.

Iverson averaged 17.4 points and 4.9 assists in 54 games with Detroit.

Team officials shut him down the rest of the season earlier this month so he could rest his injured back. The announcement came days after Iverson said he’d “rather retire” than come off the bench.

“I’m not surprised,” O’Brien said when asked about the Iverson experiment not working out. “He’s a great player when the lights come on, but I think to be in a situation where they put Rip Hamilton on the bench, it caused some challenges.”

Game Preview: Detroit at Indiana

Essentials

Date: April 11, 2009

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 39-40

Indiana: 34-45

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Antonio
McDyess
Rasheed
Wallace

Indiana:

PG SG SF PF C

Jarrett
Jack
Brandon
Rush
Danny
Granger
Troy
Murpher
Roy
Hibbert

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit +2.5

Over/under: 208

Score: Indiana wins 105-103

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 107.4 (21st)

Detroit defensive rating: 107.8 (13th)

Detroit pace: 86.8 (29th)

Indiana offensive rating: 107.8 (18th)

Indiana defensive rating: 109.0 (19th)

Indiana pace: 96.5 (3rd)

Score: Tie 99-99

Outlook

Danny Granger and the Pacers could be a tough matchup for the Pistons. Via ESPN.com:

Despite missing the postseason for a third straight year, Granger’s emergence was one of the bright spots this season for Indiana. The fourth-year swingman is sixth in the league with 25.5 points per game, and has been stellar since returning from a torn tendon in his right foot March 15, leading Indiana in scoring in eight straight contests. 

Granger has averaged 29.0 points in his last 11 starts and scored 30-plus points in five of the last seven. He scored a career-high 42 in a Dec. 12 loss in Detroit and has averaged 33.0 points in the season’s three meetings. 

The Pacers, winners of four of their last five home games, are 17-6 at Conseco Fieldhouse since Jan. 3.

Professional Game Coverage: Detroit 100, New Jersey 93

Detroit News

Pistons stop Nets to clinch playoff spot,” by Joanne C. Gerstner

The Pistons clinched a playoff spot with a 100-93 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Friday night at The Palace.

The Pistons are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls, with three regular-season games remaining.

“We’ve been through some struggles, rough times this year, but if we can learn and take things from that, hopefully it will help us in the playoffs,” said Michael Curry, in his first postseason as a head coach. “We were always confident that we’d be a team that was in the playoffs. We’re a different seed this year, and we’ve got to start off on the road.

Michael Curry plans prodigious playoff lineup,” by Joanne C. Gerstner

“If everything is secure (with the playoff seed), maybe we won’t play Dyess in Miami on Wednesday,” Curry said. “The practice (Tuesday) will be aimed more toward the playoffs than just that Miami game.”

The Pistons, who are the eighth seed in the East, could move up as high as fifth depending on how the rest of the conference shakes out.

Detroit Free Press

Pistons clinch playoff spot with win,” by Carlos Monarrez

Backup point guard Will Bynum continued to play inspired basketball by scoring a team-high 20 points in 27 minutes for the Pistons (39-40) and led a charge from the bench, which contributed 46 points and had several players on the floor late into the game.

“It’s supposed to give us confidence,” Bynum said of coach Michael Curry’s decision to let the reserves play late into the game. “It’s good for us to know that Coach got our back, whether we’re playing good or we’re playing bad and he’s still going to come to us. That just shows his confidence in us.”

Michael Curry will stay with current Pistons’ rotation,” by Carlos Monarrez

The Pistons clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 100-93 win Friday night over New Jersey at the Palace, and coach Michael Curry said he still expects to keep the same nine- or 10-man rotation in the postseason.

That would mean Jason Maxiell, center Kwame Brown and point guard Will Bynum coming off the bench.

The Grand Rapids Press

Will Bynum helps Pistons clinch playoff berth,” by Greg Johnson

It didn’t hurt the Pistons’ chances when Devin Harris, who averaged over 25 points and almost seven assists in the three previous games against the Pistons this season, left in the second half with a sore left shoulder. He was 0-for-4 from the field in the first half and scored just one point with one assist.

Pistons’ Michael Curry to lean on bench in playoffs,” by Greg Johnson

Curry noted Friday the ramifications of giving up Chauncey Billups, and Antonio McDyess for a month, for Allen Iverson in a November trade.

“Missing McDyess — he is like a glue to this team — was tough,” he said. “Any transition we went through would have been a lot better if we had McDyess that entire time. We struggled to blend everything else together.”

The Star-Ledger

Devin Harris a favorite for NBA’s Most Improved Award as New Jersey Nets drop 100-93 loss to Detroit Pistons,” by Dave D’Alessandro

Coach Lawrence Frank flipped his active list Friday night and let Mo Ager, a Detroit native, suit up. Sean Williams was inactive, but he’ll suit up Saturday night against Orlando at Izod Center, if only because the Nets will “need 18 fouls against Dwight Howard” Frank explained.

NJ Nets: Brook the Rook’s Temper,” by Dave D’Alessandro

If Brook Lopez ever turns into the gigantic holy terror that some people expect him to be, the Nets are going to send a token of gratitude to Kwame Brown. 

The Nets’ big kid was snorting with rage throughout much of the second half comeback Friday night – they came from 20 down before dropping a 100-93 decision to the Pistons – and it was mostly related to Kwame treating him like he was. . . .well, a rookie.

“I think he kind of amazingly scored a layup, and then decided he wanted to talk to me and then he tried to guard me,” Lopez said, still steaming about 20 minutes after the buzzer. “Apparently he can’t do that, so what are you going to do? If there was a little more time left, I would have hoped we would have kept going inside, because I would have loved to take it to him more.”

Game Preview: Detroit vs. New Jersey

Essentials

Date: April 10, 2009

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Detroit: 39-40

New Jersey: 32-46

Probable starters

Detroit:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Richard
Hamilton
Tayshaun
Prince
Antonio
McDyess
Rasheed
Wallace

New Jersey:

PG SG SF PF C

Devin
Harris
Keyon
Dooling
Vince
Carter
Ryan
Anderson
Brook
Lopez

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit -7.5

Over/under: 189.5

Score: Detroit wins 99-91

Statistical projection

Detroit offensive rating: 107.3 (21st)

Detroit defensive rating: 107.8 (14th)

Detroit pace: 86.8 (29th)

New Jersey offensive rating: 108.5 (13th)

New Jersey defensive rating: 111.0 (23rd)

New Jersey pace: 90.1 (21st)

Score: Detroit wins 97-96

Outlook

The Nets crushed the Pistons in their last matchup nine days ago. But Detroit had played the night before and had no legs.

With an off day yesterday and their new no-shoot-arounds-on-gameday policy, the Pistons should be fine today.

As long as they stop Devin Harris. In three games against the Pistons this year, he’s averaging 25.3 points on 54-percent shooting and 7.3 assists.