Game #54: Spurs vs. Pistons

By FanSided Staff

The San Antonio Spurs (31-22) finish up their annual “rodeo road trip” tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills against the Detroit Pistons (19-35).  The game starts at 6 p.m. EST/5 CST and can be seen on FSN Southwest and heard on 1200 WOAI-AM.

Season series:  San Antonio 112, Detroit 92 Jan. 6 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.  This will be the final team these teams meet this season.

Trends: The Spurs are winners of 6 of their last 10 games and are currently 1-1 in the post-Richard Jefferson’s goatee era.  The Pistons have lost 6 of their last 10 games.  They’ve also lost 6 of their last 10 home games against teams with .500 or better records.

Leading scorers and other notable players:  Tim Duncan leads the Spurs in scoring with 18.9 points per game.  In games against sub-.500 teams, Tony Parker has the highest scoring average among Spurs players at 16.7 points per game.

Richard Hamilton paces the Detroit offense with a team high 18.5 points per game.  Jonas Jerebko is tied for 9th among all rookies at 9 points per game.

Injuries:  Tony Parker (Hip) is listed as questionable for San Antonio while Detroit has no injuries to report.

Once the model for success in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons have had a season to forget.  Sitting in 13th place in the standings and 8 games out of a playoff spot, this will most likely be the first year since 1999 that Detroit hasn’t played in the postseason.  It is however, not a team without talent as their 3 guards, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey are all capable scorers.  Forward Tayshuan Prince is a good defender and 2nd round draft pick Jonas Jerebko has been a pleasant surprise, hustling his way into the starting lineup.

As a whole though, the Pistons are not a good offensive team, only averaging 91 points per game, while giving up about 95 on average.  The team is also weak on the inside, featuring many undersized post players and limited scorers.  To beat the Pistons, the Spurs must exploit their skill advantage up front.  Last time these teams played, the trio of Duncan, Jefferson and DeJuan Blair outscored their Detroit contemporaries 41-19.  The other thing the Spurs must do, is force the Pistons away from the basket.  As a team, the Pistons are last in the NBA in 3 point shooting percentage, only shooting 29 percent.  Compounding this problem, the Pistons are also one of the worst teams at defending the 3 point shot.  This could lead to easy opportunities for the Spurs.

Forecast:  55 percent chance of Ian Mahinmi.  I could be wrong, but I think the Pistons match up terribly against the Spurs.  This one could get out of hand.