What: Detroit Pistons vs. Sacramento Kings
Where: Sleep Train Arena – Sacramento, CA
The Detroit Pistons finally ended that long 13-game losing streak with a win last night in Phoenix over the Suns for their first win in nearly a month. Now their challenge is to win back-to-back games for the first time since November 5th and 7th over the Knicks and Bucks, respectively. Tonight’s opponent is Nik Stauskas and the Sacramento Kings, who the Pistons swept in last season’s short 2-game series. The Pistons can win in Sacramento and keep the momentum going. Here’s how:
1.) Josh Smith had much success against the Kings last season, averaging 22.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in the Pistons two victories. He also shot 50% from deep in those two games, though, I don’t suggest he take any 3’s this time around. The point is, Smith had success last season and the Pistons should use him again tonight. He’s a matchup nightmare for Jason Thompson and Rudy Gay so if Detroit can use him effectively, they will win this game.
2.) More Jodie Meeks please. Meeks made a nice contribution in his Pistons debut pouring in 12 points and hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch. I also liked the way Meeks played defense, as he moved his feet and was active defensively. I would like to see him get some more time and have him make a big impact again. Also, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who played well last night in Phoenix, needs to continue his play and knock down more big 3’s. He was 2/3 from deep last night in the 4th quarter and Detroit needs some more of that going forward.
3.) Sacramento gives up 44.7 points in the paint per game. The Kings could be without big man DeMarcus Cousins (viral meningitis) and combined with the fact that Sacramento is a little soft in the paint, the Pistons should attack that with a heavy dose of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Smith. Drummond went for 23 points and 14 rebounds against the Suns, Monroe had 12 and 8, and Smith had 12 and 11. Those three are going to have to have the same impact this time around against the Kings. The “Big 3″ have such a big impact for the Pistons that they have to play well for the Pistons to win. If Cousins does indeed miss this game, the Pistons have to pounce on it.
Prediction: Pistons 106 Kings 103