Pistons vs. Nuggets Preview: Denver and Detroit face off for second time in three nights

Detroit Bad Boys

For the second time this season, the Detroit Pistons will play back-to-back games against the same opponent as they welcome in the Denver Nuggets tonight. Detroit dropped a close one in Denver on Sunday, turning it over twice in the final minute to fall 117-11.

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +7

Analysis

The beauty of a game like this is it doesn’t matter whether the Pistons are good or bad — it’s good because you get the opportunity to watch Nikola Jokic. With his all-around ability as a scorer, passer and rebounder I think he might be my favorite player in the NBA right now.

He presents an interesting dilemma for Detroit.

The Pistons struggle with big men, specifically athletic big men, because they’re neither big nor athletic themselves in the front court. Isaiah Stewart has the strength, length and mentality to stand up to most bigs, but he has trouble with bouncy ones.

Luckily, Jokic is not that. He’s just massive.

He had his way with Detroit on Sunday, pouring in 34 points to go with nine rebounds and eight assists. I think part of that is because, outside of Stew — who gave him the business on the other end with 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting — the Pistons had no one to throw at him.

This is gonna sound strange, but I think we’ll see a splash of Luka Garza tonight. He was recalled from the Motor City Cruise this morning, and a plodding big man like Jokic is the best kind of matchup for him. I’m not saying he’ll be good, but he’s got some beef to throw around down low and he can’t be any worse than Trey Lyles was defensively.

I’ll also be interested to see how much the Pistons lean on that three-guard lineup tonight.

Killian Hayes had a nice game off the bench, scoring eight points to go with five assists and three rebounds. That’s a game he should be having routinely, not once every blue moon. Regardless, he looked comfortable alongside Cade Cunningham, Cory Joseph and Saddiq Bey on the perimeter last game.

I think it’s a lineup we see more of tonight, especially if it forces the Nuggets to have to rely upon either Bryn Forbes or Fact Campazzo defensively.

Projected Lineups

Denver Nuggets (24-21)

Monte Morris, Will Barton, Jeff Green, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic

Detroit Pistons (11-35)

Cade Cunningham, Cory Joseph, Hamidou Diallo, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

Detroit has won four of its past five home games, what do the Pistons need to do to upset the Nuggets tonight?

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