Pistons vs. Spurs preview: No Game for Old Men

Detroit Bad Boys

The San Antonio Spurs are like the zombie franchise that refused to die. Always moving forward toward the playoffs. In this case, they are not the modern World War Z types who sprint toward cities and climb giant walls. They are the old-school zombies. Quiet. Ambling. Moving slowly and steadily toward forever competence. This year they sit at 19-16, have more quality young players than you think, and while they do nothing great, they do two things that are as fundamental to basketball as they are boring — they never foul and they never turn the ball over.

Game Vitals

When: 8 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit,
Odds: Pistons +3

Analysis

This game is in the post-All-Star Break doldrums as much as one game can be. The Pistons are still without newest addition Hamidou Diallo, Dennis Smith Jr is out because of health and safety protocols, Wayne Ellington is doubtful so the Pistons are missing some firepower and will have to put together patchwork at the shoot guard slot (starter Rodney McGruder, anyone?). The Spurs, meanwhile, will be missing DeMar DeRozan, who is out for personal reasons, and LaMarcus Aldridge who is away from the team Blake Griffin style while they attempt to relocate him to another franchise.

The Spurs are much better equipped even with the absence of DeRozan behind their four primary young players in Dejoune Murray, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker and Jakob Poeltl. The one advantage Detroit does have is that they are coming off a day of rest while San Antonio is coming off an absolute thrashing 134-99 at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Spurs have actually lost three of their past four games.

That doesn’t mean I expect Detroit to win. San Antonio has a top-10 defense, and the Pistons offense is going to continue to sputter all season with its lack of perimeter scoring and only one reliable offensive threat in Jerami Grant night in and night out. Hopefully, the addition of Diallo injects some defensive pressure, energy and aggressiveness toward the basket, but that will only get the team so far.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (10-28)

Delon Wright, Rodney McGruder, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

San Antonio Spurs (19-16)

Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Trey Lyles, Jakob Poeltl

Question of the Game

Will Sekou Doumbouya get more than 10 minutes of playing time tonight?

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