What: Detroit Pistons vs. Charlotte Hornets
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena Charlotte NC
The Detroit Pistons are coming off an impressive win over the Atlanta Hawks that tied their win total from last season with eight games left to play. With still an outside shot at the playoffs and games against teams directly ahead of them in the standings, the Pistons have an opportunity to shove their way into the picture. It starts tonight against the Charlotte Hornets who are directly ahead of them in the standings.
Andre Drummond is averaging 15 points and 7 boards in 2 games against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte big man Al Jefferson is averaging 18.5 points and 9 boards against Detroit. The reason why I point this out is because Jefferson is the type of burly skilled center that burns the Pistons all the time. Jefferson bangs down low, but he can also step out, knock down a jumper, or take you off the dribble. Drummond needs to be ready for this and he needs to make sure he’s ready to go. If you contain Jefferson, you can beat the Hornets, because G Kemba Walker has been struggling since coming back from injury. Walker is averaging 16.2 points on 34.9% shooting in the last 10 games.
Offensively, the Pistons are going to need more Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Like I pointed out in yesterday’s game preview, Caldwell-Pope is better at home than on the road. He shoots 38.8% from deep at home compared to just 26.9% on the road. If the Pistons are going to win this game, Caldwell-Pope is going to have to step up offensively and knock down his open looks. Reggie Jackson will find him and speaking of Jackson, he’s averaging 17.2 points, 8.6 assists, and 5.2 rebounds in 19 games in Detroit. He’s shooting a lot better than I expected at 34.9% from deep and he’s forming into a leader. Jackson leads this Pistons offense and the other guys around him will have to step up.
Like I said yesterday, coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t going to let these guys lie down and take losses and tank. Van Gundy is coaching to win and so are his players. Van Gundy will have them ready to go as his Pistons are 4.5 games out of 8 with a mere eight games to play. I like the momentum this team is riding on, let’s see if they can keep it going.
Prediction: Pistons 107 Hornets 97