The Pistons have started the season 3-2 in an up and down start. Their last game was a very impressive victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves, with six players scoring in double figures.
Tobias Harris was the star performer, scoring 34 points off 58% shooting from the field. Now the question remains if they can gain any consistency in their play. A win against the Clippers would assist that nicely.
The Clippers have shown no signs of struggle since the departure of Chris Paul, and are now 4-0 on the season so far. Their last win was a thriller against the Portland Trail Blazers that went down to the wire, ending in a buzzer beating three from Blake Griffin to give the Clip-show a 104-103 win in Portland.
Now they begin a five game home stand with a strong chance to improve on their unbeaten streak. They may be without Austin Rivers, as he injured his hand in the closing moments of the Blazers game, and is set to have X-Rays on it.
Keys to the game
Balanced play – Both teams have shown their ability to keep the ball moving and keep players involved. This game is a classic chess match between coaches as both will need to utilize their bench players. The Clippers and Pistons both have solid supporting casts that can come on and change the outcome of a game, whoever better utilizes that bench will come away with a win.
Tough Rebounders – With guys like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond squaring off, expect a physical battle on the boards in this matchup. NBA fans will be licking their lips to watch the battle beneath the rims as the league’s top rebounder (Jordan) takes on the 4th best in Drummond.
DeAndre is averaging a ridiculous 18.3 rebounds per game while Drummond hasn’t been shabby with his 13.2. Those rebounds will be crucial in either denying or creating second chance opportunities, something we all know can swing a game.
Defense – If the Pistons are to win this game, they need to bring the same defensive strength that we’ve witnessed in their last two games, holding the Sixers to 86 points and the T-Wolves to 101. Another strong outing on that end of the floor could just sneak them an impressive road win.
Matchup to watch
Andre Drummond vs DeAndre Jordan- Although there may not be a lot of points from these two, this should be an incredibly physical battle in the post. As mentioned above, this will be the premier matchup in this game. Who comes out in the battle of the bigs both on the scoreboard and in the rebounding category?
Although Drummond is dominant, look for Jordan to swing things in the Clippers direction. His 18.3 rebounds per game are just insane in this league, which goes to show you just how good a player he actually is. Jordan also has a weapon that Drummond doesn’t called Blake Griffin. Griffin can come in and support Jordan in the post and offer a solid dish outlet while Tobias Harris doesn’t exactly match up.
Detroit Pistons Projected Lineup
PG – Reggie Jackson | SG – Avery Bradley | SF – Stanley Johnson | PF – Tobias Harris | C – Andre Drummond
Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup
PG – Patrick Beverley | SG – Lou Williams | SF – Danilo Gallinari | PF – Blake Griffin | C – DeAndre Jordan
Blake Griffin continues to shine this season as the leader of the team, averaging 26.3 points and 9.3 rebounds so far off 53% shooting from the field. They’ll look for him again to have another big game in this one.
The Clippers have been rolling so far, and will keep it moving with a win on Saturday night. Clippers win comfortably even if Rivers is out.
You can watch the game on League Pass or local channels in the Detroit and Los Angeles area. Coverage starts at 10:30pm ET.
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