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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons

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In their first home game in nearly a month, the Spurs host the streaking Detroit Pistons.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
March 2, 2016, 7 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: ESPN Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Pistons head coach, GM and OG Stan Van Gundy didn't while away the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. Much like a Metapod or Francis Dolarhyde, Van Gundy's roster continues to evolve.

He's not simply recreating what made his Orlando Magic squad successful, either -- beyond having strong shooters to place around big man Andre Drummond, he's also sought out positional versatility on both ends of the floor.

Van Gundy looked to make two big moves last month, although one -- involving a first-round pick for Houston's Marcus Thornton and Donatas Motiejunas -- was rescinded after Motiejunas failed a health evaluation.

The trade that did go through saw Magic forward Tobias Harris head to Detroit, which sent starting forward Ersan Ilyasova and former starting point guard Brandon Jennings to Orlando. For Harris, the trade seems to place him in a better-defined role on a team with a more concrete timeframe. The Pistons are a good team with designs to be very good and then, hopefully, great. Harris presents a talent upgrade in the short run, and he could be a more logical fit at the starting power forward spot in the long run.

And while the Pistons look to answer those roster questions, they have to be happy with the direction in which they're trending. Their current four-game winning streak includes double-digit wins against the two best teams in the East, the Cavs and Raptors, and it's put them in a four-team logjam between 6th and 9th place. Already a group that rarely lacks in effort, they should be even more motivated approaching the season's final stretch.

A Spurs win will take a similar effort that they showed in the first three quarters of their win in Houston on Saturday. LaMarcus Aldridge did a great job holding his own against Dwight Howard down low, and Drummond will require just as much attention from SA's bigs, including on the offensive glass where Detroit is tops in the league. Limiting second-chance points will be also be key given how much defensive attention will be required against Detroit's penetration game.

On the other side of the ball, the Spurs will want to pull Drummond away from the basket whenever possible and take advantage of the size mismatch against Detroit's smaller frontcourt -- something Duncan, Aldridge (as well as Diaw and West) should be able to do.

Both teams will be missing rotation players tonight. Manu Ginobili is still out (although there has been some positive news regarding his return), while Detroit will be without Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver. Van Gundy won't shy away from going deeper into his bench, and it wouldn't surprise me if Pop does, as well -- especially if the Spurs rack up a few fouls against the 36% FT-shooting Drummond. Could that mean a debut for Andre Miller in silver and black?

Matchup to watch: The Spurs' perimeter D against Detroit's new-found three-point stroke. The Pistons have been on fire as of late from deep, which puts even more pressure on teams struggling to counter their pick-and-roll game.

San Antonio Spurs: 50-9

Detroit Pistons: 31-29

March 2, 2016

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

7:00 pm, CDT

TV: ESPN

Starters

Tony Parker

PG

Reggie Jackson

Danny Green

SG

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kawhi Leonard

SF

Tobias Harris

LaMarcus Aldridge

PF

Marcus Morris

Tim Duncan

C

Andre Drummond


Game prediction: Spurs by 4.

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

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.