Pump Up Music: Avenged Sevenfold -- "Bat Country"
The Big Picture: At the start of last season, the Detroit Pistons still had the sheen of Title Contender. When they traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, they still had that sheen, but things quickly took a turn for the worse as soon as everyone realized that their best remaining point guard was probably Will Bynum and they had three shooting guards who all felt they should start in the either of the two guard spots.
Today, at this exact moment, the Pistons are in going through some tough times. Both Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince are out with injuries for indefinite periods, leaving the team relying on free agent acquisitions Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for offensive production. Jonas Jerebko, the Pistons' second round pick out of Sweden this year, has started four games at small forward in Prince's absence, and he hasn't exactly been a revelation. Pair him with an aging Ben Wallace at center, and Detroit has two offensive black holes in the lineup.
In other words, their path to victory is the same as ours: Play great defense, and score just enough to win. Unless someone goes off (Gordon is the best bet to go nuts), we're looking at another 82-80 type game.
Key to Victory: Raja Bell will play a high leverage role today. Since Gordon is Detroit's most potent scorer, we need Bell to forget his age, play through his wrist injury, and be at his best on defense.
Gerald Wallace is going to be a matchup problem for Detroit, since they don't have any palatable options to guard him. Jerebko and Daye are both long, but rookies, and Jason Maxiell and Chris Wilcox are both post type players who probably won't be able to deal with Gerald if he puts the ball on the floor.
Detail That Might Interest .08% of You: Rodney Stuckey is the only player in NBA history to come out of Eastern Washington University.