Game On: Pelicans vs. Detroit Pistons

The Pelicans are one game and one win into a seven game home stand. It feels like every week we move the goal posts with this team and set a new point of no return/move on date. Well, if the Pelicans can’t run through this series with a relatively strong record (i.e. 5 to 6 wins), then this season will pretty much have a fork in it (assuming it doesn’t already).

With that said, the Pelicans are taking on the Detroit Pistons tonight. If you already listened to this week’s podcast, you know that I picked this team to give the Pelicans the most trouble this week. First, Stan Van Gundy is an incredible coach, and what he is doing with Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond looks scary. Those are two guys I worry about our defense stopping.

Of course, the Pistons’ real strengths are defense and rebounding. The Pelicans aren’t an outright bad defensive rebounding team, but they’ll have to be great to prevent guys like Drummond from getting on the offensive glass and punishing them. Here are some thoughts about the game tonight.

  • Eric Gordon – This will be the first full game without Eric Gordon for a while. I’m interested to see how Gentry handles the starting lineup and rotations. I imagine Alonzo Gee will see his minutes increase to starter levels. I assume Norris will pick up some, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if we saw a little bit of Luke Babbitt to make up for the shooting we lost with Gordon.
  • Hack-a-Andre – I’m not a big fan of hack-a-whoever, but Drummond is shooting 35.5% from the free throw line this year. Let Ajinca get in there and wrap him up a couple of times.
  • Pick and Roll Defense – The Pistons run a lot of pick and rolls. They’re pretty good at them. The Pelicans aren’t great at defending the pick and roll, but some of that could be alleviated with personal and rotations. Of course, there is a trade off on the offensive end to playing some of our defenders. I’m interested to see what Gentry does there too.
  • 3 Point Defense – Detroit takes a higher rate of 3s per game than league average, but they really aren’t that great at hitting them. Outside of Ersan Ilyasova, there isn’t a guy from deep that can consistently light it up. I have a couple of comments on that. First, the Pelicans are sure to make one of their average 3 point shooters look amazing… I mean just book it. Second, maybe Detroit could be a potential trade partner. I don’t know what they have that’d we want, but we’ve got two great 3 point shooters on the block. And they could be looking to move up in the East to present themselves as the place to be for free agents next offseason. It could require a third team getting involved. Food for thought.
  • Anthony Davis  – I feel like, win or lose, he is going to have a big stat line tonight. I’m not sure why, but I have a feeling.

There are more things to say about this one, but let’s leave it at that. Things get started at 7 PM central time. We will be living tweeting the game, and I’ll have your recap up soon after the final whistle. Enjoy!

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