The Detroit Pistons look to extend their hot streak and finally pull themselves above the .500 mark this week. They will have a couple of tough matchups, but with three home games, they should have the ability to come out of the week with a (3-1) record. At the very least, they should be able to finish with an even record over the next six days to remain in a decent playoff position within the weak Eastern Conference.
The Pistons start the week with a home game against the underachieving Minnesota Timberwolves, a game Detroit should probably win. It won’t be an easy one, though. The Timberwolves have a couple of double-double machines in Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic to matchup with Detroit’s loaded front court. Love is scoring 23.7 PPG while grabbing a league-high 13.6 RPG. Pekovic is valuable as well, averaging upwards of 20 points and 10 rebounds in his last three games against the Pistons. However, he did not have Josh Smith and Andre Drummond in addition to Greg Monroe to deal with for 30-plus minutes the last three times he saw the Pistons.
While it should be fun to watch the rebounding battle between Drummond and Love, the game could be decided at the point guard position. The Pistons haven’t shown much of an ability to stop teams with good ball movement, and the Timberwolves offense, led by young point guard Ricky Rubio, is one of the league’s best, scoring 104.7 PPG and averaging 22.8 APG. Despite Rubio’s distributing prowess, he is an awful defender, and the Wolves have been facing some of the same defensive issues Detroit has. If Brandon Jennings plays within himself, the Pistons should be able to add another win tally, but don’t be surprised if Rubio and Love cause fits for the Pistons’ defense and steal this one.
On Wednesday, the Pistons will travel south to take on the injury-riddled New Orleans Pelicans. What would otherwise be an interesting face off between Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond should easily become another Pistons victory. Not only is New Orleans without “The Brow,” who fractured his left hand and isn’t expected back until January, they will also be without Tyreke Evans. Although the Pelicans have some young talent on their roster, Detroit should be able to handle them while New Orleans is short-handed.
A weekend with two home games kicks off with a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, a team the Pistons beat by 12 on the road last month. With rookie head coach Jason Kidd appearing to be in over his head, battling with assistant coaches and allegedly spilling a cup of water onto the court to intentionally cause an official timeout late in a close game, this should be another victory for the Pistons. Detroit has played well against Brooklyn both in the preseason and regular season, and the Nets appear to be an absolute disaster right now. If it weren’t for their crosstown rival New York Knicks, you would be hard-pressed to find a more disappointing team so far this year.
Detroit’s second game of the weekend will be the toughest one of the entire week. The Portland Trail Blazers are as hot as anyone this season. Although the Pistons put up a good fight in a 109-103 loss to the Trail Blazers on November 11, it never seemed like the game was out of Portland’s control. The Pistons probably will not have enough speed or depth to steal a win from the Blazers, who are an even more potent offensive team than Minnesota. While it’s not completely out of the question after last week’s surprising road win over the Miami Heat, don’t expect a win in this one.