I am not saying the NBA schedule is rigged against the Pistons, but it is quite fitting that they already have their first back-to-back of the season on their 2nd and 3rd games of the season. The Pistons aren’t the only team dealing with it, but it is still interesting.
With that out of the way, the Pistons are looking at one of their few early season games that they are actually favored in against the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons were favored against the Magic on opening night, and this will probably be the last time they are favored for a while.
Why they are favored in this game is a different story, as the Pistons are coming off an abysmal performance against the New York Knicks last night. They surrendered 130 points to the Knicks and looked like they couldn’t be bothered to play any defense.
The Knicks are a better team than the Pacers, but the Pacers are coming off of a 137-134 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, so they very well could score as much as the Knicks did.
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse
When: Saturday, October 22 at 7:00 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (-1)
The Pacers are not outright trying to tank, at least they aren’t saying it, but they probably won’t be very good and will be competing with the Pistons at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Pacers have a pretty solid core of young players with veterans like Myles Turner and Buddy Hield providing valuable experience around them. However, the Pacers will be without Myles Tuner as he recovers from a rolled ankle he suffered during warmups before their opener.
The Pacers young core is led by Tyrese Haliburton, who has reached another level while playing for the Pacers after last season’s trade from the Kings. He showed flashes of being a solid player with the Kings and he is now the player the Pacers whole rebuild is being built around.
Outside of Haliburton, the Pacers also have Benedict Mathurin, the 6th pick in this year’s draft. He has proven to be as good as advertised in the early parts of the season and scored 26 points last night against the Spurs.
Just like the Pistons are hoping Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey are their backcourt of the future, the Pacers are hoping the same for Haliburton and Mathurin.
The Pacers surrendered 114 points in their first game of the season and 137 points to the Spurs, so you will not be seeing much defense played in this matchup. I would like to think the defense couldn’t get worse for the Pistons than it was against the Knicks, but you never know. At least the Pacers are a lot younger of a team and will probably suffer from some of the same mistakes the Pistons do.
The Pistons can hopefully take advantage of a weaker defense than they faced against the Knicks, but they are still going to have to make their shots. They were 9-of-36 from three against the Knicks and only 19-of-32 from the free throw line.
The biggest issue plaguing the Pistons right now is their bench, and that isn’t going to change until some players start to get healthy. Their bench was outscored 64-22 against the Knicks and a majority of the Pistons bench points came during garbage time. Dwane Casey is going to have to stagger minutes more so a starter is playing with the bench until the Pistons get some bench players back.
I expect a high scoring affair in this one.
Detroit Pistons (1-1): Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart
Indiana Pacers (0-2): Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Chris Duarte, Jalen Smith, Terry Taylor
Are you more concerned with the Pistons bench so far this season or their defense?