- When – Friday, 08 November 2013 at 6:30 PM CST
- Where – The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
The Oklahoma City Thunder embark on their 3rd road game of the season against the much improved Detroit Pistons. The Thunder finally started looking like themselves in their last game against the Dallas Mavericks. They set a season high in points and assists, and showcased the young talent that has been brewing on the bench and in Tulsa for the past year.
The Thunder come into the game with a 3-1 record. They swept the season series against the Pistons last season and have won 8 straight dating back to the Thunder’s inaugural season in 2008-09.
The Pistons come into the game with a 2-2 record. After whiffing on free agent signees Ben Gordan and Charlie Villanueva in 2009, Pistons GM Joe Dumars aggressively pursued and signed free agent forward Josh Smith and traded for point guard Brandon Jennings. Those two moves combined with young big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe have a lot of people mentioning the Pistons as a dark horse playoff team. The Pistons have had their issues in trying to work Smith in as a small forward and Jennings has struggled with his 3-pt shot in the early going. Off the bench, the Pistons are led by veterans Charlie Villanueva, Kyle Singler, and Rodney Stuckey.
Probable Starting Line-Ups
PG – Brandon Jennings
SG – Chauncey Billups
SF – Josh Smith
PF – Greg Monroe
C – Andre Drummond
Oklahoma City Thunder
PG – Russell Westbrook
SG – Thabo Sefolosha
SF – Kevin Durant
PF – Serge Ibaka
C – Kendrick Perkins
3 Keys to the Game
1. Bigs – It is very important the Thunder bigs keep the discipline on the boards and win the rebounding battle. Perkins, Ibaka, Steven Adams, and Nick Collison will have their hands full with Drummond, Monroe, and Smith (in small ball line-ups).
2. Transition – While Detroit may win the size battle, the speed battle (transition offense) can help the Thunder break the game open. The Pistons like to shoot 3-pointers, but don’t shoot them at that high of a percentage. Long missed shots leads to long rebounds, which can lead to transition opportunities.
3. Turnovers – It’ll be imperative that the Thunder keep the turnovers to a minimum. The Pistons have a good mix of youth and veterans and will make a team pay for excessive turnovers.