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 Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports Detroit
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
Backstory: Detroit is one of the league's enigmas. At times, they look like a quality team, able to put up wins against strong opponents like Orlando, Atlanta, and Denver. At other times, they drop a bunch of stinkers, losing to teams like Chicago or Toronto. Still, there is some reasoning for it, as Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Gordon will all be gone tonight, and the Pistons have been battling injuries all season. Without those 3 players, I really can't see them beating us tonight, so I'm ready to throw out the celebration stuff.
And we all know the Thunder's story. They've been sliding because they've faced 3 of the leagues top 5 teams, and none of us want to see them slide below .500 and get into the muck of the West. Kevin Ollie is out through December, Kyle Weaver is out through March.
Center: Nenad Krstic vs. Ben Wallace
Last time, Nenad Krstic was able to break out for a decent game against the slow-footed Ben Wallace, and I don't expect this time to be any different.
Power Forward: Jeff Green vs. Jason Maxiell
When Jeff Green was faced Charlie Villanueva, he put up good numbers. But, this time, he'll have to face Jason Maxiell, and I think he'll have below-average numbers for yet another game.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. Jonas Jerebko
That's right, Jonas Jerebko, a 2nd rounder the Pistons decided to use on the court. He strikes me as a European style forward, able to shoot and rebound, but not really able to get very gritty offensively or defensively. That being said, I've never seen him play, so I can only infer from the statistics. Still, Kevin Durant will undoubtedly have a better game, unless Jerebko is concealing a secret weapon that I know nothing about.
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Rodney Stuckey
Thabo normally closes out on scorers well, but last time, he had some trouble with Ben Gordon. And I have reason to believe that he'll have trouble guarding someone with the scoring style of Stuckey. So expect Stuckey to out do Sefolosha in every area of the stat sheet.
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook vs. Chucky Atkins
Yeah. Remember that ill-used guard we had last year? The one that was only good for shooting 3s? Well, he's starting for the Pistons now. Still, he is a decent scorer, so expect him to score around 10 while providing no defense whatsoever. This should open the way to a much better Russell Westbrook performance than last time.
Battle of the Benches:
Villanueva, Daye, Bynum, and Wilcox. Am I mistaken, or is that lineup far better than their starters? In any case, I'd say our benches are about even. We all have ample reserves for each position, and we're both missing a couple of guards.
Coaching and Intangibles:
Both teams have been on losing streaks, and both are well rested. I'll have to give it to the Thunder, because they're at home.
There is absolutely no reason we should lose this game. The Pistons are without their 3 best players, and they have to resort to secondary scorers and some of the Thunder's scrubs from last year in order to survive. We have the advantage at virtually every position. Let me say it again....we better not lose this game.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 95, Detroit 88
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. I'll be in the Ford Center cheering the team on, but I'll be back to write a recap later tonight. Go Thunder!