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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons

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On the second night of a back-to-back, the Spurs head to the Motor City to take on Stan Van Gundy's revved-up Pistons.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Detroit Pistons

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
January 12, 2016, 6:30 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The Pistons are currently keeping pace in the six-team logjam that is the second tier of Eastern Conference teams, an effort propelled by Andre Drummond's rebounding, Reggie Jackson's playmaking and, quite possibly, this Stan Van Gundy picture.

One of the most common occurrences in the NBA is the Reggie Jackson-Andre Drummond pick and roll, a combustive force that defenses have struggled to contain thus far. Go over the screen and you allow an elite penetrator to attack the rim or lob it to the uber-athletic Drummond. Go under and you invite Jackson, who's now got his three-point percentage up past 36%, to beat you from deep. Collapse on them and you open things up for the other shooters Van Gundy has placed around the duo. Repeat.

Of course, a little hack-a goes a long way in disrupting a team's offensive flow, and Andre Drummond is shooting 36% from the line on the year. The last time it was employed against him was by Coach Bud's Hawks in a game Atlanta won 107-100, so it wouldn't be the most surprising thing to see tonight. (He might as well at least try to shoot underhand, right? Ugh, Millennials.)

Defensively Detroit's anchored by Drummond's presence in the paint, but there are a number of perimeter players that help the cause, including Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and rookie Stanley Johnson. With length on the outside and Drummond in the middle, the Pistons are a tough team to hang points on and rank sixth in Def Rtg right now.

Detroit's also welcomed back into the fold Brandon Jennings, who went down around this time last year with an Achilles tear. While Jennings' long-term future with the team is uncertain following the arrival of Jackson, he provides a thin bench with some much-needed firepower, even when playing on a minutes count.

Outside of the contenders, I consider the Pistons one of the toughest matchups on paper for the Spurs. Jackson had his moments against San Antonio as an OKC backup and he's now got a team that leverages his skillset, and Drummond will be a handful for Timmy all night long. I like the matchup a bit more if Marcus Morris (tendinitis in his left knee) sits out another game, and LaMarcus Aldridge should be too much for Ersan Ilyasova to handle either way.

A win at the Palace won't be easy, but I think the Spurs' bench can do enough to tilt things in their favor. Last night's comfortable win in Brooklyn should mean some fresher legs, too.

Matchup to watch: The Spurs D vs. the pick and roll. How often will they go under the screen? Will they roll with Tony on Jackson all night? And will the Pistons' peripheral players capitalize on the plentiful opportunities the play provides?

San Antonio Spurs (33-6)

Detroit Pistons (21-16)

January 12, 2016

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

6:30 PM CST

TV: FSSW

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Reggie Jackson

Danny Green

SG

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Marcus Morris*

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Ersan Ilyasova

Tim Duncan

C

Andre Drummond

Game prediction: Spurs by 3.

For the Pistons fans' perspective, visit Detroit Bad Boys.

As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.