Time to Be the Grit that Clogs the Pistons

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Published: February 25, 2009

Matchup: Pistons(27-28) @ Hornets(33-22)

Off Efficiency: Pistons 103.2(22nd), Hornets 106.8(8th)
Def Efficiency: Pistons 104.6(15th), Hornets 103.7(11th)

The Pistons played last night, losing to Miami by an even dozen, and stretching their current losing streak to seven games.  The Pistons have been slowly falling apart all season, and I don’t envy coach Michael Curry one bit – he was put in a losing position, and that losing position was exacerbated by the trading of one of the most efficient Point Guards in the game for a low efficiency scorer and poor defender in Allen Iverson.  Iverson’s arrival did no favors for Michael Curry – since Iverson still carries the perception of a good player in the NBA, but hasn’t played at a high level on both ends of the floor in about five years.  I’m sure someone will pay for Detroit’s perceived difference between talent and results, and that usually means the coach.

It’s fairly easy to boil down Detroit’s primary trouble.  Sure, their defense has slipped, but over the last three years it’s been headed for average anyways.  No, the last couple years, Detroit has been relying on an efficient offense to get things done.  This year, however, Detroit’s offense has been poor.  Outside of Jason Maxiell and his four shots a game, there isn’t a rotation player on this team averaging better than 1.2 points per shot. By way of comparison, the Hornets have 7 rotation players at that level or better.

The Hornets have their major pieces ready to go tonight, are playing at home, and need to start putting a hurting on the rest of the league.  I expect them to come out strong.

Injuries:

Pistons: None
Hornets: Mo Pete is still working his way back

Positional Analysis

PG: Rodney Stuckey v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Stuckey is one of those fringe starters that will probably start for most of his career for some team somewhere.  He’s got a decent all around game and a nice shot, but he’s not particularly efficient,(1.17 points per shot) doesn’t get many assists(5 per game) and is about average defensively.  He’s also stuck in a deadly funk right now, averaging 7 points, 2.5 assists and 2 turnovers in thirty minutes over his last five games.  I’m sure Chris Paul isn’t the person you want to see when you are struggling.

SG: Allen Iverson v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Even
Iverson is shooting 42% and not compensating for it with a pile of free throws like he used to.  Expect him to score some, but defensively there’s not a lot he’ll be able to do to stop Butler or contest his deadly three point shot.  I feel Butler will give Iverson more problems than the other way around.

SF: Tayshaun Prince v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Pistons
Prince isn’t an offensive machine, but he solid in a lot of areas, particularly on the defensive end.  He’s a great passer, will get his fair share of boards, and stick his open shots.  Last season, the Pistons used him to post Peja and got a bunch of easy buckets – we’ll see if Curry does the same.  Peja needs to just stick his shots.  If he hits his open looks, this advantage will be largely mitigated.

PF: Antonio McDyess v David West
Advantage: Hornets
McDyess is a solid veteran, and the sort of player you’d want as a primary back up big man.  His primary offense is a nice midrange shot and a slick fadeaway from the post, and he’s also very good on the boards, so West will need to focus on boxing out.  West should be able to muscle him around, however, and get his points.

C: Rasheed Wallace v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
Wallace has faded to the point he’s a poor man’s Okur, jacking up three point shots at a league-average shooting percentage, and really doing next to no damage in the post.  He never draws fouls, boards poorly for a center, and seems disinterested in doing anything but yelling at referees.  Tyson has come back focused and should do well against him.

Bench
Advantage:
Pistons
Rip Hamilton, Jason Maxiell, Amir Johnson and Walter Hermann provide most of the bench minutes for the Pistons.  Rip is, of course, a solid scorer off the bench, and Maxiell is one of those undersized power forwards with more energy than a photon torpedo.  Amir is a mistake prone big man who can score and shoot a little, and Hermann can knock down three pointers.  This bench is better than the Posey/Brown/Daniels/Armstrong/Marks squad we’ve been rolling out recently.

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