It's official. Although Lin-sanity is the biggest story right now, once again, the San Antonio Spurs are the hottest team in the NBA that no one outside of Spurs fans knows about. And the Spurs would have it no other way. However, that's not the the best news. Manu is back! The Spurs weathered the storm better than anyone could have predicted (15-7 in LWM). The Spurs continue their Rodeo Road Trip to Detroit, to meet another former NBA Finals opponent. Like the New Jersey Nets, once a threat to make noise in the playoffs, the Pistons have fallen far from grace.
The Detroit Pistons (8-21) last played Sunday at Auburn Hills, losing to the lowly Washington Wizards (6-22) who won their second road game of the season 98-77. The Pistons are not very good. Their brightest spot of the season is second year center Greg Monroe, who is having a very nice season.
The Spurs, fresh off their victory against the New Jesey Nets, and two days rest, come in looking in great position to establish themselves atop the standings in the western conference.
There is not too much one can take from the New Jersey Nets game. They are bad, really bad.
However, there are some positive we can still take out of the game.
- Manu Ginobili is back. Enough said.
- Perhaps the second happiest person is Gregg Popovich. The Spurs experienced their first 2-day break prior to the Nets game, and following that game, have seen an additional back-to-back days off. For a team that focuses on defense as the backbone to their championships, practice is vital.
- Gary Neal appeared to be the happiest player to see Manu return. Now, with the weight off his back to co-lead the second unit (with Green) at backup PG, Neal had arguably his best game of the season (18 points on 80% shooting in 23 minutes).
- Danny Green found his shot after going 0-13 to begin the Rodeo Road Trip.
There is not a lot that a fan can take out of this game against the Pistons much like the Nets game. However, these games are perfect because Manu just returned and needs to be worked into playing shape. And now that Pop has had days to practice, he can begin to run some of his lessons against moderately equipped teams prior to the west coast swing of the rodeo trip.
Keys to winning:
- Pounce early: The Pistons are not a good team. This game should be approached in a similar fashion to the Nets game. Do not take them lightly, as they can be a Tarp game.
- Get back on defense: The Pistons are not good at scoring (28th in the league in PPG). Take away their easy baskets and this game should be over quickly.
- Limit Turnovers: The Pistons average 7 spg (22nd in the league). On offense, they allow 95.7 ppg (17th) , 47.6% fg (2nd) and 37.2% 3pt (3rd). Take care of the ball and keep it simple and the offense should come fairly easily.
- Defend the arc: The Pistons are not a good shooting team. Take away their opportunities for easy points.
- This picture: For good luck.
Game Prediction: Spurs jump on Detroit, Manu continues to look better and the starters enjoy the 4th quarter off.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game 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.