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Bobcats @ Pistons Preview: Thoughts & Keys to the game

Who: Detroit Pistons vs Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Pistons Home Game

When: 7:30 PM ET

Where: Live at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Detroit 27-52 100.6 (23) 105.9 (24) 92.9 (22)
Charlotte 18-60 98.0 (29) 109.3 (30) 94.0 (16)

Previous Meetings:
2013/01/06 – 101-108 – RecapBoxscore

Detroit: Jose Calderon (OUT)
Charlotte: Byron Mullens (OUT), Ramon Sessions (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Pistons Bobcats
PG Brandon Knight Kemba Walker
SG Rodney Stuckey Gerald Henderson
SF Kyle Singler Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Andre Drummond Josh McRoberts
C Greg Monroe Bismack Biyombo
6th Man Jonas Jerebko Ben Gordon

QCH Panel —

Spencer: The Pistons come into tonight looking to win three straight games, which would be a big boost for a team that started the season having some quiet playoff hopes. In the past 5 games Detroit has been scoring 102.4 PPG and shooting the ball at a 49.2% mark. These are numbers that wouldn’t presumably come down when Charlotte comes to town. In the Pistons past 5 games they have attempted 56% of their FGA from ‘around the rim’ and that’s up from a season average mark of 51.1%. Having the duo of Monroe and Drummond healthy and on the floor together is helping that stat.

Tonight, McRoberts will have his hands full with Monroe. Seems to me that McRob should attempt to crowd Monroe when he catches the ball away from the basket and force him to make a scoring play by putting the ball on the floor. Biz, on the other hand, will likely draw the duty of defending Drummond. The key to guarding Drummond is to not allow a deep catch around the basket and also to keep him off the offensive glass — Drummond is 3rd in the league in Offensive Rebounding Rate (15.6%).

The Bobcats have not been like the Pistons within the past 5 games. It doesn’t help when 4 of those 5 opponents are all playoff teams, but the numbers still speak for themselves. Charlotte is shooting the ball to the tune of 41.3% in the past 5 and scoring a putrid 88 PPG. Charlotte is also attempting just 39% of their FGA in the past 5 games from ‘around the rim’. Again, that is a product of facing good, paint packing, defenses. Still not going to get the amount of points on the scoreboard that is good enough to beat any team.

Prediction — 104-96 Pistons.

Greg: The three games this year between the Pistons and Bobcats have been close contests, with the average margin of victory at under five points. Kemba Walker in particular has played well against Detroit, scoring at least 20 in each contest so far.

The Pistons made a little bit of a splash before the trade deadline, shipping out Tayshaun Prince for Jose Calderon. Calderon’s stats have looked pretty stellar (11.6 points and 6.6 assists on 52% shooting and 52% from three), but he’s always looked solid statistically. His defense and passive play are his biggest weaknesses, which are harder to quantify. Calderon’s doubtful for tonight’s game, which may not be a good thing: There’s evidence that Brandon Knight is an underrated defender, and he’ll likely see a bump in his minutes with Jose out.

Keys to the game:
— Free throws. Charlotte has only shot 42.2 percent from the floor against the Pistons this year, but they’ve averaged 25 free throw attempts a game. Kyle Singler in particular has struggled with fouls, logging at least five in each game and fouling out on Feb. 20. Picking up those free throws will help a lot, considering Andre Drummond’s very aggressive shotblocking could limit opportunities inside.

— Turnovers. In their win against the Pistons this year, the Bobcats were able to win their turnover battle easily, 22-11. In their losses, the margin was much closer. Points off turnovers should have been a strength for Charlotte, considering how often they play small ball, but it just hasn’t quite panned out. Taking advantage of teams prone to turnovers (Detroit ranks 23rd in TOV%) would be a good start.

Brett: ESPN’s David Thorpe came out with his column about who rookies from this season should study to improve their games. Believe it or not, Thorpe says MKG should study Lebron!