Pistons vs. Pacers preview: Will more injuries compel Casey to play Wiseman alongside Duren?

Detroit Bad Boys

If you didn’t get enough Detroit PistonsIndiana Pacers action this weekend—well, do we have some good news for you. The two bottom-dwelling foes in the Central Division will run it back for one more round at Little Caesars Arena after Indiana’s 121-115 win in Detroit on Saturday night.

The Pacers have much more to play for than the Pistons, who are now officially eliminated from playoff contention (surprise, surprise). Indiana is a half-game behind Chicago for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference, and the final spot in the East’s play-in tournament.

Detroit has the development of their non-injured young players and snapping an 11-game losing streak to play for. The Pistons are also, somewhat astonishingly, still searching for their first divisional win of the season, with only a handful of opportunities left.

Marvin Bagley III (right ankle soreness) joins the multitude of teammates who will not suit up on Monday night against the Pacers, including Jaden Ivey (health and safety protocols), Bojan Bogdanovic (bilateral Achilles tendinopothy), Alec Burks (left foot soreness), Isaiah Stewart (left shoulder impingement) and Hamidou Diallo (grade two ankle sprain).

The Pacers are struggling with injuries, too. On Monday, Bennedict Mathurin (right ankle sprain), Tyrese Haliburton (left knee contusion), Myles Turner (lower back soreness) and T.J. McConnell (back soreness) will be out, according to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. Buddy Hield is also questionable due to left foot soreness.

Little Caesars Arena should be rockin’ with star power.

If not for the players who are still available to play, the game will be a celebration of 313 Day. There will be odes to the city of Detroit throughout, including Detroit’s own Royce Da 5’9 performing at halftime. The Pistons will also be giving out thousands of dollars worth of jewelry as part of their Pistons Swag Cam Contest.

Maybe—just maybe—there will be some extra juice to bring the Pistons their first win within the division this season, even with a less than ideal rotation.

Game Vitals:

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +3.5


Nobody knows what to do with this game, not even Vegas. An absurd amount of injuries, on both sides, leaves us with a toss-up and the Pistons as only a 3.5 point underdog at the time of writing.

We’ll likely see a high volume of Isaiah Livers minutes, who will hope to build upon his 18 point, four rebound and four steal performance against Indiana on Saturday night. Livers took a lot of shots, specifically from 3-point range, where he went only 3-for-10. Although he has the opportunity to see insanely high volume thanks to the multitude of injuries, I hope that Livers can see his shots fall at a higher rate, specifically from deep.

In the month of March, Livers is shooting 32.3 percent from three, a bit lower than his season average of 36 percent. If he can string together a few weeks of a higher shooting efficiency, the second-year wing can go into his offseason feeling strong.

We should also expect to see a heavy dose of Killian Hayes and James Wiseman as a continuity of the Pistons injury woes. The two will look to continue building chemistry in pick-and-roll action.

Hayes was the primary facilitator for Detroit on Saturday night, recording 13 assists in the loss to Indiana. According to Cleaning the Glass, 4-of-6 made shots by Wiseman were assisted on, while 75 percent of Jalen Duren’s made baskets came off of assists. Hayes will have ample opportunities to continue running the floor and will be able to lean on his big men down low, especially if coach Dwane Casey elects to play Wiseman and Duren alongside each other.

Eugene Omoruyi, who’s currently on a 10-day contract, will look to build off of strong showings of recent. Omoruyi signed his 10-day deal with the Pistons on March 3, however Casey hinted that the 6’7 wing is likely to stick around for at least a bit longer.

While Hamidou Diallo’s injury likely makes Omoruyi’s extended tenure as a Piston more secure, he has shown promise of recent.

Omoruyi brings physicality and a defensive mindset at the wing to Detroit, which continues to be the roster’s most glaring hole. After scoring 11 points and grabbing three boards against Indiana on Saturday, he’ll look to prove that he belongs as a mainstay in the league each time he hits the floor.

R.J. Hampton continues to play for a long-term role on an NBA roster, as well. In his past five games, Hampton is shooting 43.8 percent from three on 16 total attempts, while playing 18.3 minutes per game.

Hampton is a career 33.9 percent 3-point shooter. So, hopefully he continues to shoot at a higher rate from long range, especially if he stays in Detroit after this season.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (15-53):
Killian Hayes, Rodney McGruder, Isaiah Livers, James Wiseman, Jalen Duren

Indiana Pacers (31-37):
Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith, Chris Duarte, Oshae Brissett, Isaiah Jackson

Question of the Day

Will coach Dwane Casey test drive a two-big starting lineup of James Wiseman and Jalen Duren? The two big men have not shared the floor with each other since Wiseman was acquired by the Pistons at the trade deadline.

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