Game On: Hornets @ Pistons

Published: December 19, 2010

I know people are freaking out that we took the Marcus banner down, but we are keeping it in a vault for the playoffs and have preserved its Mojo. For now, lets thank Dariusz Ejkiewicz again for his work and move forward with a new false god to worship. The Italian Stallion, Marco Belinelli.

As for the game; these two met just eleven days ago in what may have been the most boring and unwatchable game of the season thus far. Even that Philadelphia game had some exciting dunks by some of the Sixers wing players. Against Detroit, the Hornets got off to a fast start and never really looked back, winning 93-74 in what may have been Marco Belinelli’s best game of the season.

Despite how well the Hornets looked on Friday night, I don’t expect this game to be as easy as the last meeting between the two for a couple of reasons. For one, Detroit is much better at home than they are on the road. Yes I know that they just lost to the Clippers at home by 21 Friday night, but before that they were a .500 team at home and lets not forget how horrible the Hornets looked last time they traveled to a poor Eastern Conference teams’ house.

Secondly, the Pistons actually did fairly well on the boards in the last matchup despite the fact that statistically they are 30th in the league in rebounding. In their last matchup, the Pistons got nearly 30 percent of the rebounds off the shots they missed. The Hornets, on the other hand, finished with only 4 offensive rebounds despite missing 37 shots. And finally, the Hornets have just been awful on Sunday’s: 75 points scored at Sacramento, a 14 point loss against the Spurs after leading by almost 20, a 25 point loss at San Antonio, and an 18 point loss at Philly in which they only scored 70 points. 1-3 in Sunday games, averaging 81 PPG. Not good.

For Ryan’s in depth look at each matchup, look here.

The great thing about the TrueHoop network is that we have experts at our fingertips for each and every team, so I decided to take advantage of that and hit up Dan Feldman of Piston Powered to answer a few questions on the Pistons:

Hornets 247: What has been Detroit’s best five-man lineup this season?

Dan Feldman: Oh boy, that’s a bit of a loaded question. Detroit has tinkered with its rotation so much already, I’m not sure there’s a relevant answer. I’ll go with Rodney Stuckey-Ben Gordon-Tracy McGrady-Charlie Villanueva-Greg Monroe, but I can’t guarantee you’ll see that group out there tonight. Stuckey is having his best season as a pro, and he plays a little better when he stays on the court with the reserves, who are more willing to push the pace and keep the ball moving.

24/7: How has Louisiana native Greg Monroe looked in his first season as a pro?

DF: I’m a huge Monroe fan. I liked him coming into the draft, and I’ve been more impressed since. Detroit kept him on the bench its first two games after he didn’t hustle much in the preseason, and he definitely got the message. Since entering the rotation, he’s rebounded like crazy and given maximum effort on defense. He seems a little flustered on offense, and he gets his shot blocked way, way, way, way, way — seriously, I might be leaving out a couple ways — too much. The Pistons don’t use him in the high post enough to take advantage of his passing, but I suspect that’s because it’s so obvious he’s not ready for NBA speed on that end. With the rest of the season to adjust and offseason to gain strength, I think he’ll be much improved next season.

24/7: When these two teams matched up nearly two weeks ago, Detroit only managed to score 74 points and only scored over 20 points in one quarter. Was that because of fatigue due to it being a back-to-back or has this been an ongoing problem for the Pistons?

DF: The Pistons probably blamed it on the back-to-back, but they’ve been all too quick to make excuses this year. That was a mentally-weak effort against New Orleans last time. My favorite stat from that game: no Piston had a positive plus-minus at halftime, and all the Pistons who played in the first also posted negative plus-minuses in the second half. Unfortunately, the effort hasn’t improved since. Pistons fans have been left debating whether blowing a 25-point second-half lead to the lowly Raptors or giving the Clippers their first road win since last March — by 21 points! — is Detroit’s lowest moment. That Hornets game is probably third, so that type of effort is an ongoing problem.

24/7: It seems like in several of Detroit’s wins this year, Charlie Villaneuva has gone off, and when they get blown out, he is a no-show in the box score. Is it safe to say that this team goes as Charlie V goes?

DF: I don’t know if I’d go that far. The Pistons’ wins have been so few and far between, I don’t think they’ve established a rhyme or reason to them. I will say this about Villanueva: he’s one of only two Pistons who plays hard every game, with Greg Monroe being the other. (Ben Wallace and Tracy McGrady would fit into that group if physical limitations didn’t slow them here and there.) But when Villanueva combines his energy with a shot that’s falling, he can be a pretty dynamic force.

24/7: You are the Pistons GM and New Orleans is on the phone. Offer me a trade or two that is reasonable for both sides, citing why it benefits both teams.

DF: These two teams probably aren’t a match as trading partners. Both have unstable ownership situations and probably want to trim salary because of that. Here’s the best I could come up with: Willie Green and Jason Smith for Jason Maxiell and DaJuan Summers. The Hornets get Maxiell, who has actually proven himself a very capable backup center, and Summers, who might be an OK backup wing if given minutes. Both those guys have been squeezed out of Detroit’s crowded rotation. The Pistons get Maxiell’s contract off the books, an alright backup shooting guard in case Richard Hamilton or Ben Gordon is traded and a 7-footer they can pray they can turn into a competent defender.

Final Notes:

– My fiancee is stepping in for Ryan, and we are recording our Podcast tonight after the game- PLEASE send in any questions you want answered. Either post them here or in the forum. Thank you.

– Hornets are 4.5 point favorites, a full point higher than the line’s opening at 3.5. The gamblers are betting heavy on the Hornets. Just a crazy, random fact- both teams are .500 this season Against the Spread: Hornets 12-12-1 and Detroit is 13-13.

– Expect a low scoring game. If you remove last years game at Detroit, neither team has scored more than 95 points against the other in the last 3 years.


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