This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 7 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
The two undefeated teams of Oklahoma City and Detroit are getting ready to square off in the Palace of Auburn Hills. Both teams have unimpressive resumes. the thunder are coming off of a 23 win season and have beaten the lowly Kings, while the Pistons are clearly waiting for next seasons Free Agency, totally collapsed last year, and have only beaten the lowly Grizzlies.
But, I think the Thunder have the upper hand here. For starters, Rip Hamilton could possibly not play tonight. And even if he does play, he could be slowed down from his usual self. Second of all, their big men don't do a lot of scoring. Charlie Villanueva was sub-par last game, and Ben Wallace, as everyone knows, is not an offensively minded guy. If we can equal their scoring in the back court and drastically out score them in the front court, we can definitely win this game.
Below: Matchups, Predictions
Center: Ben Wallace vs. Nenad Krstic
Ben Wallace isn't want he used to be, but Nenad Krstic definitely can't tango with him in the post. I'll say that Krstic definitely scores and rebounds below average for this game, but Ben Wallaces stats won't be any better. I say Ben Wallace wins.
Power Forward: Charlie Villanueva vs. Jeff Green
There's no question who's going to win on scoring and on defense here. Jeff Green is simply a better player than Charlie Villanueva, and then though Charlie might get a few more rebounds, Jeff Green will have a far better stat sheet.
Small Forward: Tayshaun Prince vs. Kevin Durant
This will be a matchup for the ages. Some might go so far as to say Kevin Durant is a younger Tayshaun Prince. I look forward to an all out battle here that may just become the focus of the game. Tie.
Shooting Guard: Rip Hamilton/Ben Gordon vs. Thabo Sefolosha
It's unclear who will start tonight, but a huge key to the game will be how successfully Thabo can stifle the offense of Ben Gordon and/or Rip Hamilton. If he can hold them to a below average night, we'll stand a good chance of winning. Still, in any case, Hamilton and Gordon will have far better nights.
Point Guard: Rodney Stuckey vs. Russell Westbrook
Stuckey may be a point guard on the rise, but he's no Russell Westbrook, especially in the assist department. Westbrook will score less than Stuckey, but he'll have a better overall stat sheet.
Battle of the Benches
The Pistons have a pretty formidable bench even without Ben Gordon, with Jason Maxiell, Kwame Brown, and even Chris Wilcox. They're pretty thin at the guard spots though, bringing in good 'ol Chucky Atkins and former D-Leaguer Will Bynum. But, as a whole, it's much more powerful than the Thunder bench, which sports names like Etan Thomas and Kevin Ollie.
Coaching and Intangibles
The Pistons have the clear upper hand here. Deeper bench, more experienced and are at their home floor.
I think the Thunder can pull out the win if the backups can come into the game without screwing it up too much, if our front court outscores their front court, and if we can hold guys like Tayshaun Prince, Ben Gordon, and Rip Hamilton to sub par nights. It looks like a tall order, but it's really not, and I'm confident we can win this game.
Thunder 97, Pistons 95
A closely contested battle pushes slightly our way.
How do you think the game will go? Vote in the Poll!
And, again, feel free to drop any comments you might have during, before, or after the game below. IHopefully I'll be here, commenting while simultaneously watching it on Television. Go Thunder!