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Pistons hosts the OKC Thunder

Essentials

  • Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1) at Detroit Pistons (2-2)
  • Date: November 8, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FS Detroit

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons will host one of the most explosive teams in the league tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Oklahoma City Thunder will make a quick stop in Motown and then return home for a matchup against the Washington Wizards in two nights.

Russell Westbrook recently rejoined OKC and he gives the team a dimension that is incredibly difficult to game plan for. Indeed, with the former UCLA Bruin on the hardwood, the Thunder are one of the best offenses in the league.

Westbrook has a knack for speeding up the tempo and attacking defenses with reckless abandon. With their starting point guard on the floor, the Thunder are far more aggressive and also, they play with an edge that is borderline maniacal.

In two games without Westbrook, Oklahoma City had the feel of a mediocre team. They sported a negative scoring differential, which is hardly the sign of an elite squad. Kevin Durant and company scored at a league bottom-third rate sans their second-best player.

Mind you, in the two games since he returned from injury, the Thunder are a different team. NBA.com’s advanced stats tool tells us Scott Brooks’ unit is among the 10 best offenses in the league if projected over the course of all of their games.

Obviously the sample size is small, but it is still telling. Per Team Rankings, OKC is a top-10 team in fast break points per game, and it stands to reason they will climb in the rankings because of Westbrook. His ball-handling coupled with his speed and athleticism make him a nightmare in the open floor.

Hence, he easily gets himself to the basket or sets up his teammates. Further exacerbating issues, the Pistons do not have anyone with the strength and speed necessary to stay with the point guard.

The Pistons’ best bet is to go underneath screens and trap him in pick-and-rolls. Also, Westbrook can be tricked into taking low-percentage jump shots, which is a plus for opponents.

With that said, he will probably attack the paint and lunge himself at the likes of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. If Detroit’s frontcourt can contest his attempts and force misses, the Pistons will be in business.

The UCLA product loves throwing himself into the fray, but he also does a good job of setting up his teammates. His drives typically suck in defenders, which allows the likes of Kevin Durant to shake free for uncontested jumpers and finishes at the rim.

Also, Serge Ibaka is an incredibly underrated floor spacer. His jump shot is now amongst the most lethal in the league, even though he is not necessarily regarded as a spot-up shooter. NBA.com tells us that he converted 50.8 percent of his mid-range jumpers in 2012-13 and he is not that far off from last year’s pace in this current campaign.

Ibaka has converted nine of his 20 mid-range jump shots (45 percent) in 2013-14. He might very well end up pulling away a big man on Detroit’s frontline with the threat of his shooting.

The matchup that will captivate most of the attention though will be Josh Smith versus Durant. Both players are incredibly talented at their respective heights, and it will be fun to watch Smith chase the former Olympian around the court in an attempt to make his life difficult.

They will challenge each other and provide an interesting matchup, but Durant will probably be Smith’s superior. On paper, OKC should win this matchup by virtue of talent, chemistry and collective experience.

However, the Pistons have two things that might play in their favor tonight: turnovers and rebounds. That will cut into the Thunder’s possessions and give the home team a chance at the upset tonight.

Read about the Thunder

Daily Thunder.

24 Comments

  • Nov 8, 20139:03 pm
    by T Casey

    Reply

    Jennings… 3/11

  • Nov 8, 20139:26 pm
    by haydzzz

    Reply

    If Bynum isn’t throwing lobs to Drummond he’s useless in my opinion

  • Nov 8, 20139:28 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Bynum is horrible he made Reggie Jackson in the laast 2 minutes look unstoppable…
    Btw: Jenning 9 ast 2 to’s 2stl…

    • Nov 8, 20139:52 pm
      by T Casey

      Reply

      I’m seeing Monroe has no shots in the 4th. Was he deferring or just not getting the ball?

      • Nov 8, 20139:53 pm
        by T Casey

        Reply

        *My bad, that wasn’t supposed to be a reply.

  • Nov 8, 20139:38 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    we need consistent 3 point shooting!

  • Nov 8, 20139:39 pm
    by haydzzz

    Reply

    We need to hit shots but we are also getting beaten in rebounds

  • Nov 8, 20139:46 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Adams out Drummonded dre…

  • Nov 8, 20139:50 pm
    by haydzzz

    Reply

    Drummond needs to learn not to jump for everything… the team still has a lot to learn but will be okay only 5th game

    • Nov 8, 20139:59 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      Shooting would cure a lot!

  • Nov 8, 201310:01 pm
    by haydzzz

    Reply

    Loving Jennings game tonight why do we ever bring Bynum in? Lol

  • Nov 8, 201310:08 pm
    by T Casey

    Reply

    Well, Jennings brought it back late. Can’t front on that. Hopefully we can get that to start games though.

  • Nov 9, 201312:20 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Couple of things to note:
    - Monroe’s defence is way better than last season
    - we’ve been killed by the other teams wings in 4 out of 5 games (Ariza, Allen, George and Durant)
    - Datome was missed on 3 separate occasions on wide open 3pt shots
    - I think we can win 3 of our next 4 games. GS will be the only won we’ll struggle with. Blazers, Kings and Lakers are all winnable. After that the Knicks are ripe for the picking with no Tyson Candler.  

    • Nov 10, 20139:38 pm
      by Otis

      Reply

      Good God, man. Where do you get this Kool-Aid at? I think we look a heck of a lot more likely to go 1-3 over our next four games than 3-1. The Blazers should make short work of us, and I the Lakers have looked surprisingly good and cohesive. I think we have a very easy team to game plan against.

  • Nov 9, 201312:55 am
    by Michael

    Reply

    Well if Cheeks left Singler out there 23 minutes to guard Durant, it didn”t work obviously… 37 points… 9 above his lead leading average.
    Then, when Andre, and Smith get in foul trouble Cheeks has nobody to hit the boards while all the bigs sit on the bench and are passive, I thought that is what Harrellson and Tony Mitchell were for… foul trouble bigs… maybe he’ll figure that out next time he lets a rookie (Steve Adams) clean his clock.

  • Nov 9, 20131:22 am
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    we had  great looks at 3′s ….I wanna believe our shooters will find their touch soon….  Smith, Greg and Jennings played good games…. Drummond lost his matchup and we get enough offense off the bench…which is why keep saying and said from the start….START Pope and Bring Billups out with the 2nd unit

    • Nov 9, 20131:29 am
      by Jodi "The Guru" Jezz

      Reply

      Why would we start Pope when he isn’t starting 2-guard material..The guy has future 6th man writing all over him…

      • Nov 9, 20136:34 am
        by gmehl

        Reply

        I agree with Frank on this. Chauncey has been way to slow going up against the opposite starters. Pope might not be hitting his shots but he has the ability to limit his man from scoring. I don’t know how you can assess that he has 6th man written all over him after 5 reg season games. Cast your mind back to Monroe’s first 10-12 games. He couldn’t buy a basket and if he was to get his shot off he was getting it blocked most of the time. It’s called an adjustment period and KCP is no different so he’ll just need some time to pick his spots. I love Chauncey and all but if he’s not hitting his shots then it will offset his terrible D he now has due to his aging legs. The other trait he brings is controlling the tempo of the game which in all reality Jennings is there to do. It’s Billups to the bench and start KCP for me.

        • Nov 9, 20131:22 pm
          by Toozman

          Reply

          Great post.  The Pistons start 2 point guards, one power forward, and two centers.  Take Chauncey’s minutes and give them to Stuckey and Pope, so at least there’s one wing out there all of the time.
          The bigger issue is the ‘win now or bust’ mentality of Dumars and Cheeks.  We’re not winning the championship this year, so why not give Pope the minutes instead of the 37 year old playing out of position?  Why not give Mitchell the ten minutes that Jerebko is playing?  I understand it’s five games in, but would our record be any different than it is now?

        • Nov 9, 20134:36 pm
          by Jodi "The Guru" Jezz

          Reply

          @gmehl: I’m not called the guru for nothing…KCP will be our future 6th man, just watch and see bro…His overall game says it loud and clear…
           
          @Toozman: “The bigger issue is the ‘win now or bust’ mentality of Dumars and Cheeks.  We’re not winning the championship this year, so why not give Pope the minutes instead of the 37 year old playing out of position?”
           
          That’s a losers mentality…

          • Nov 10, 201310:06 am
            by Toozman

            It’s pretty obvious that there’s a talent upgrade, thus Dumars has pretty much done his job.  Gores should tell him he’s safe for a year, so the right young players can get the minutes……

          • Nov 10, 20139:40 pm
            by Otis

            You’re not called the Guru at all. You might well be the least respected commenter around these parts.

          • Nov 11, 20137:28 am
            by Jodi "The Guru" Jezz

            @Otis: Smh, you sound so lame right now…”The least respected commenter around these parts??.” Get a girlfriend bro!..

  • Nov 9, 20131:32 am
    by Jodi "The Guru" Jezz

    Reply

    Good game Pistons…Monroe is starting to blossom in-front of our eyes!..

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