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Pistons look to close road trip with a bang

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (9-10) at Chicago Bulls (8-9)
  • Date: December 7, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons have won three straight games overall and claimed back-to-back victories on the road. They will go into tonight’s matchup with the Chicago Bulls looking to reach the .500 mark with a win.

That would certainly help them climb the ranks of what is a completely putrid Eastern Conference. Indeed, the Pistons have a chance at finishing the season as the third seed in the east.

However, for all of their potential, the Pistons were built in a rather strange fashion that is somewhat reminiscent of the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have a multitude of individual players that are intriguing talents, but that do not necessarily fit alongside each other.

Grantland’s Bill Simmons took it a step further:

As the self-proclaimed Body Language Doctor, I was obviously excited for a moody lefty with poor shot selection who occasionally clashes with his teammates (Smith) to join forces with a moody lefty with poor shot selection who occasionally clashes with his teammates (Brandon Jennings). But it’s been rockier than even the Body Language Doctor expected. Mo Cheeks has that “mom with three young kids who just had too much sugar” look on his face at all times. If you started a 12-man “Which Two Teammates Would Have To Be Separated In The Huddle” fantasy draft, and the entire first round were taken up by “Boogie Cousins vs. (fill in 12 consecutive teammates),” then the first pick of the second round would be either “Josh vs. Jennings” or “Kyrie vs. Dion.”

Although humorous, this is not exactly news for Pistons fans. But it is incredibly relevant tonight heading into the contest against the Bulls. In their first head-to-head matchup of the season, Chicago took Detroit to task.

The Bulls held the Pistons to 44.2 percent shooting from the field at the Palace of Auburn Hills. That figure seems incredibly respectable until we dig in further into the numbers.

The Pistons took an ungodly amount of contested long-range 2-point shots and actually connected on a great amount of them. NBA.com tells us that Mo Cheeks’ unit hit 11-of-23 (47.8 percent) of their mid-range jumpers in their lone contest versus the Bulls.

That figure is simply not sustainable given that those shots were well contested. Detroit relied on running a lot of two-man action on the wings and it resulted in either Brandon Jennings taking a low-percentage shot or one of the big people taking a tough jumper.

Also, when the Pistons interior players got within proximity of the basket, they saw the outstretched arms of Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson. Both players are great defenders and they force misses by contesting shots with great fervor.

The Pistons converted decent amount of shots at the basket and again, they were by their own standards lights out from mid-range. Despite all that, they only scored 79 points against the Bulls.

Further exacerbating issues, Chicago’s offense was quite efficient on that night despite the lack of creativity in their sets. The Bulls simply relied on swinging the ball from one side to the next and using cross screens.

That consistently produced high-percentage shots and resulted in a night where they hit 53.2 percent of their shots. There is no other way around it: Detroit must defend far better tonight at the United Center.

The Pistons’ offense will probably struggle tonight once more unless they manufacture a plethora of turnovers. That will allow Detroit to get out on the break where their athleticism is practically unparalleled. That gives them an opportunity to avoid executing in their half-court offense.

The Bulls probably win this contest if it ends up being a slow grind out game given that Detroit will be launching long contested jumpers again. If the Pistons speed things up though, they have a chance at taking this one and ending the road trip with a bang.

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns.

26 Comments

  • Dec 7, 20136:43 pm
    by Javell

    Reply

    No luo deng tonite if we lose im gonna pull my hair out…I HAVE A LOT OF HAIR! We are better than them without derrick rose and we need to prove it!

  • Dec 7, 20136:50 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Curiously asking… when was the last time we were at least .500 this time of the season. I’d assume the 2005-2006 season??

    • Dec 7, 20137:15 pm
      by Javell

      Reply

      Last year we started 0-8 lol big change

    • Dec 7, 20137:42 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      2008-09. The Pistons were 11-9 through 20 games after losing their 3rd straight game. They did win the next 3 though.

  • Dec 7, 20139:15 pm
    by Adam

    Reply

    Must be frustrating for jennings tonight he is threading the needle a lot tonight and his big guys are too scared to go straight up 

  • Dec 7, 20139:16 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    stuckey out for the game… INJURED! :(

  • Dec 7, 201310:15 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Great win! We never beat the bulls…Jennings played a great game…first time we,ve seen. 500 this late in the season since what? 2009

  • Dec 7, 201311:21 pm
    by OOtis

    Reply

    My man Greg Monroe was a monster tonight – along with the rest of the team!  Dumars for GM of the Year!  Don’t change a thing!  Keep it rolling!

    • Dec 7, 201311:25 pm
      by gmehl

      Reply

       Ok OOtis I’ll bite on this one. How about Mo Cheeks for the head coach of the east all stars? You might want to fix your ppowered handle there Otis or is this someone else :-)

      • Dec 8, 201310:06 am
        by OOtis

        Reply

        Gmehl, it’s hard to ignore the job that Jason Kidd’s doing in Brooklyn – perhaps Mo can be his assistant?
        Seriously, though – 10-10!  With one West Coast swing out of the way!  When’s the last time we were anywhere near that?

  • Dec 7, 201311:22 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    I give Jennings and Harrelson co-MVPs for this game. We won an ugly game but a win is a win I guess. Looks like Stuckey will miss a couple with a knee bruise. I don’t know if I should be embarassed about the fact that I’m excited that my team is a .500 for what feels like an eternity.

    • Dec 7, 201311:41 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      Nuffin to feel embarrassed about….we gave away like 4-5 games this season
       

  • Dec 7, 201311:42 pm
    by domnick

    Reply

    we have game tomorrow against MIA…
    lets keep hungry.. beat the other teams…
    im worried about stuckey though… he’s a big factor off the bench.. hopefully siva will start taking good care of the ball.. coz he is a bad PG right now… we need billups to play!

  • Dec 8, 201312:37 am
    by T Casey

    Reply

    Great sign from Jennings tonight. He’d been passing well the last few games, but the team needed his offense tonight and he delivered big time.

    • Dec 8, 201312:50 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      That’s what makes him special…and he was passing but the big were not connecting then he took over it was the offense the bulls wanted to give up and we made them pay

  • Dec 8, 20131:03 am
    by jg22

    Reply

    Have Jennings-Smith had any conflict since signing here? 
     
    None that I can think of, so that’s kind of a misleading article by Simmons, who is usually pretty good.

    • Dec 8, 20131:16 am
      by Max

      Reply

      He’s a Pistons hater of the worst kind.  

    • Dec 8, 20131:23 am
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      I agree very misleading even when we were losing the body language wasn’t negative…I actually think josh smith has been a pretty good emotional leader…he continues to play hard on defense no matter the match up and it doesn’t matter if his shot is falling…and when kyle is one he cheers and when kyle was missing it looked like he was encouraging

      • Dec 8, 20131:30 am
        by Max

        Reply

        In the pantheon chapter of his book of basketball, the Joe Dumars section was almost entirely devoted to saying no one could prove Dumars was better than Sidney Moncrief.   I hold Moncrief in high esteem and wouldn’t hold it against anyone who thought he was better than Dumars but every other player in the pantheon got some kind of description of what kind of player they were and why they mattered rather than being reduced to being denigrated by some random comparison.    For anyone who was reading the book to find out about the history of basketball and its players who didn’t know about Dumars–they wouldn’t learn a thing about him in that book and Dumars gets his own section by title.  Just seems as if Simmons had an ax to grind.   

  • Dec 8, 20131:11 am
    by Some Dude

    Reply

    If Stuckey is out against Miami that’s a big blow to our bench. We can’t count on Siva for anything, tbh. He doesn’t look to shoot, and when he tries to make plays he turns it over. Jennings and KCP will be getting a lot of minutes in Stuckey’s absence (if he’s out). I think we can play Singler at SG a bit, and have JJ or Datome fill in at the 3 spot. 

  • Dec 8, 20131:19 am
    by Max

    Reply

    How many games would the Pistons have to win a row for Otis to concede that the streak was not meaningless?  

    • Dec 8, 20133:37 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      I guess the streak depends on what your goal for this team is. I personally am just happy that we seem be heading in the right (making playoffs) direction. Otis I assume is looking at the bigger picture of free agency and winning a championship. Anyone can see our team is flawed the way it is constructed so I this win streak to some could just seem like it’s masking those flaws. I’m happy that we seem to be turning the corner but I’d be lying if I thought this win streak meant too much. 

      • Dec 8, 20135:30 am
        by Max

        Reply

        Well, it seems that you are taking the streak to mean the team is turning the corner.   That’s not meaningless.    I pretty much agree with that it doesn’t mean too much but I also don’t believe in setting expectations so high for a team that they are bound to fail.   The team is not going to win a championship this year but I also don’t recall any team going from the basement to the title without at least a year or two of development so I think the goal for this year should be major improvement.   I think it would relatively be a monumental achievement for the Pistons if they could land a home court first round playoff series or win a first round playoff series this year.  It’s a tall order for them but I think I’d be a poor fan if I wasn’t happy with that and right now, the team is in position to get home court if they can stay ahead of all the teams currently behind them.   

  • Dec 8, 20131:24 am
    by Max

    Reply

    Pistons have the longest active winning streak in the league and they are not just 500 but 500 on the road.  Now they just have to keep up that pct on the road and improve the pct at home.  

  • Dec 8, 20131:35 am
    by Jacob

    Reply

    Big game against Miami, now  Wade is back.
     

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