Spurs @ Pistons preview: Waiting for a sunny day to believe

The teams that faced each other in the 2005 NBA Finals square off again today, relics of a bygone era in which both teams could play defense at a level that other opponents were never able to match. That series was probably my proudest moment as a fan - that year's San Antonio team faced down defeat and pushed back with a ferocity that has been missing for a couple years now, going on to win game 7 after being down in the 4th quarter, and being outscored in the series. Nowadays, it's hard to believe these guys have the trust in each other (or the stones) to pull off a performance like that.

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting a few PtR members in person. One thing I said to them still stands firm: I don't expect anything out of this team anymore. Every once in a while, they give us all reason to hope... then follow it up by draining all that hope away shortly thereafter. It makes me crazy.

A lot of folks would qualify as "sunny day believers" this season, myself included. There aren't many sunny days lately for Spurs fans, but I still have hope. All the gloom and darkness of the trade deadline and Friday's loss seems to have soured everyone's mood around the Spursonet, and it's not just PtR. Through it all, the Spurs keep plugging away, even though they've undoubtedly got an idea what fans are saying about them.

Tonight marks the end of the Rodeo Road Trip, the time when the league starts to take notice because the Spurs are playing so well - this year, not so much yet. I still don't expect anything out of them, but I hope that they can get their shit together and make a good run. What else can I do? But even during the fiercest of storms, you can sit back and watch the show from somewhere safe... and know that the sun will return again.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons
Where: The Palace at Auburn Hills - Detroit, MI
When: February 21, 2010; 5:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: Fox Sports Net (SA & Detroit)


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How They Stack Up
19-10 Home 12-14
11-11 Road 6-20
100.9
Offense 99.1
96.2 Defense 104.1
47.4 FG% 43.7
37.1
3-pt% 33.1
73.8
FT% 77.6
42.3
Rebounds 42.2
13.2
TOs 14.9
5-5 Last 10 4-6
Won 1
Streak Lost 2
2nd, Southwest Position 5th,Central

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 8:00 PM
West Coast
3:00 PM
Philippines 7:00 AM
Central Europe Midnight
Palestine/Egypt 1:00 AM
East Coast 6:00 PM
Land Before Time
4:00 PM
Perth, AUS 7:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 9:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 9:00 AM

Spurs
(30-21)
Matchups

Pistons
(19-35)

Tony Parker
Planting Fascists

Point Guard

Neither one of these guys should be considered a true point guard, but they sure as hell know how to provide some offense. Stuckey's putting up slightly better numbers, and isn't hobbled by injury. In fact, we can't be sure that Tony is even going to play in this game. But if he does, he's easily more efficient than Stuckey, who requires longer minutes and more shots to put up those numbers.

Also, Tony needs to dominate Fisher.

Advantage: Spurs


Rodney Stuckey
Makes me think of road food

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George Hill
Ninja Bot

Shooting Guard

In a historical context, the white box may seem misplaced for this matchup. Let me assure you, it was intentional. The younger, more selfish version of Hamilton that got essentially run out of Washington by his airness seems to have returned this season. The guy takes 17 shots per game, and only makes them at a 40% clip. George is going to have to watch himself to stay out of foul trouble, though - Hamilton gets to the line more often this year than he has in the past.

Advantage: Spurs




Richard Hamilton
The Original Moses Look

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Richard Jefferson
Sir Richard the Weak

Small Forward

Richard has been coming off the bench the last two games, and the verdict is still out on that decision. By the time he enters the game, the team is already at a disadvantage. I don't know if he'll reclaim his starting spot tonight, but he's sure to earn more minutes than Keith Bogans, who shouldn't be playing this position to begin with. The guy we thought would be RJ's backup before the season - Michael Finley - has earned two straight DNP-CD's this week, so don't expect Pop to start putting any more size at the position. The good news? Tay definitely hasn't been himself this season, while dealing with back issues. But he's still good enough on D to get the nod here.

Advantage: Pistons


Tayshaun Prince
That "Prince" doesn't come before "Peanut"

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Tim Duncan
The Man

Power Forward

No explanation needed. Count me as a Jerebko fan, though - I was hoping he would fall to us in the draft, but I'll take what we ended up with.

Advantage: Spurs


Jonas Jerebko
Swedish... but not a Swedish Brick

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Antonio McDyess
SAM

Center

Both of these guys can still be effective, but they definitely aren't the players they used to be.

Advantage: Father Time


Ben Wallace
No more 'fro

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Manu Ginobili
Re-sign plz? kthx

Bench & Role Players

Remember when Gordon was rookie of the year and 6th man of the year? Me neither. BAM will destroy all who oppose them. Manu kicked ass in the last game, and I get the feeling BLAAAAIIIRRR is going to rip off some limbs tonight.

Advantage: Spurs


Ben Gordon
Bench

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Gregg Popovich
sucks

Coach

If only Pop would get off his Kuester(see what I did there?) and actually learn how to coach, maybe he wouldn't deserve to be fired. Also, not a great debut season for Kuester. Maybe we should hire him to replace Pop.

Advantage: Spurs


John Kuester
also sucks
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

They are worse at home than the Spurs are on the road.

Advantage: Spurs

Mojo

The Spurs choked in Philly. Choking isn't good mojo.

Advantage: Pistons

Winner:

Because I want to see the sun again, figuratively speaking.

And yes, the "swedish brick" is my car.

Keys To The Game

  • Challenge Everything - The Pistons are a pretty bad shooting team. But these are still NBA players - the Spurs need to make sure they don't get anything easy. Beat them to their spots, get a hand in their face, play the passing lanes - basically, give 'em hell on defense like the Spurs are supposed to.
  • Make Shots - The Spurs are shooting even worse than Detroit since the All-Star break. That needs to end today.

Strength of Schedule

Both teams have had a day off after tough losses on Friday night. Detroit gets another day off tomorrow before playing in Sacramento on Tuesday night, while our Spurs have two days off before facing the Thunder [ugh] at home.

Last Time They Met

The last game between these two teams was on January 6th in San Antonio. It was a nailbiter for three quarters, but the Spurs finally pulled away for a 112-92 victory in the fourth.

Some Other Reading

Pistons

Detroit Bad Boys - Excellent name for the SBN Pistons blog, where you can find plenty of great content from folks who love their team. Seems pretty busy, too, so don't be surprised if we have some visitors today.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is now even better. A must read.
Project Spurs: Check out their regular podcasts. I think they love Manu as much as we do, if that's possible.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired on Fox Sports Net affiliates in both San Antonio and Detroit. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to our crack moderating team at poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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