Detroit Pistons Face Critical Stretch Before All-Star Break

By Schuyler Machcinski
Detroit Pistons
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons have seven games left before All-Star Weekend gives the team nearly a week off from competition. With five of the games coming at home, Detroit has the opportunity to either set themselves up to be competing for the next couple months or fade away from the playoff spotlight.

This important stretch starts tonight as they host the Philadelphia 76ers at 7:30 p.m. ET. With losses in four of their past five games, the Pistons surely can handle a 76ers squad that has struggled mightily this season. Despite the stellar play of rookie Marcus Carter-Williams, Philadelphia is just 12-32 after their surprising 3-0 start to the year.

Detroit should take solace in the fact that they have dominated the 76ers this season by posting two double-digit victories against them thus far. Each game was highlighted by arguably the best performances that Pistons forwards Andre Drummond and Josh Smith have had this year.

In their first meeting in December, Drummond posted at stat line of 31 points, 19 rebounds and six steals. These were numbers that weren’t seen since Hakeem Olajuwon did it for the Houston Rockets in 1990.

Detroit’s second win against Philly in January included a Smith performance that filled up the entire stat sheet as he nearly posted a triple-double with 22 points, 13 boards, seven assists and five blocks.

If Drummond, Smith or any Pistons player can replicate a similar performance tonight at the Palace, it should store some confidence in the struggling ball club. That’s something they will definitely need with the games that lie on the horizon.

The next 12 days feature contests against two championship contenders in the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. They will also soon square off with they playoff contending Denver Nuggets and the suddenly red-hot Brooklyn Nets before All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

After this tough slate of games, there should be a clearer picture of where exactly this Pistons team stands.

Schuyler Machcinski is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @MachcinskiSky, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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