San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit PistonsThe Palace, Detroit, MI
February 6, 2013, 6:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: Fx Detroit - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
The San Antonio Spurs continue their annual tradition: the Rodeo Road Trip. After opening the trip with a win against the always plucky Minnesota Timberwolves, the Spurs move on to Detroit to face the Pistons. The Spurs will likely continue to be shorthanded, as both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are still nursing injuries and might not suit up. In spite of those injuries, the Spurs are still winning, and winning lots, including their past 11 games.
I'm not sure if that streak will extend to 12, and by the end of this preview, I will either have talked myself into or out of it.
Detroit this season has been somewhat underwhelming, sometimes looking like a franchise clearly on the rise, and other times looking like a team that has no idea what it's doing on the court. To start the season, the Pistons drafted Andre Drummond, and in spite of him only playing about 20 minutes a game, he's completely outplaying highly touted number 1 pick Anthony Davis. In all seriousness, Andre Elizabeth Drummond, The Big Penguin, could very easily be the next Shaquille O'neal or Dwight Howard. He's a slam dunking, shot blocking, rebounding machine, the likes of which Detroit has not seen since Ben Wallace was in his prime and wearing cornrows or afros with such gusto. He's a freakish athlete that also displays surprisingly good positioning and fundamentals. He also can't make a free throw to save his life. He'd probably make a higher percentage shooting them granny style.
Drummond has also been slowed recently by a back injury, which further limits his minutes and might see him miss a few games, including the one tonight.
Also recently, Detroit traded long-time Palace tenant Tayshaun Prince away and received Jose Calderon. This is the first time the Pistons have had a real point guard in a very, very long time. He's already throwing dimes like ninja stars, averaging 6 a game since becoming a Piston despite still getting acclimated to his new buddies. I expect he will probably have double digit assists tonight. That said, neither of Detroit's backcourt players are above average defenders, and I expect Tony to run them dizzy.
As for the post area, Greg Monroe is an excellent young player, but I expect the Spurs to focus on limiting his efficiency. If we are able to do that, it should make the game much, much easier to win.
One final thing to be wary of is the Pistons bench. Their bench mob of Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum, Chunky Charlie Villanueva, and the previously mentioned Andre Drummond has not only kept them in games this year, but pushed the Pistons to wins and near wins against some of the top teams in the league. Fortunately, the Spurs depth is also a strength, so this matchup should be a wash at worst, but if Gary Neal's shooting slump continues, it might be difficult for our bench to keep pace with theirs.
Pistons perspective can be found in the lair of our most awesome blog friends: Detroit Bad Boys
Game Prediction: I expect tonight's game to be all about effort. If the Spurs show up and coast, they'll have a tough time winning. If they take care of business, I expect a double digit win. My guess: Spurs win by 10.
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.
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