The gist: The Pistons have lost seven of their last eight, the latest one coming in a 99-91 loss at the hands of the Warriors. Led by Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, the Rockets have won their last three games to climb to a decent 6-7 record.
Key matchup: Kyle Lowry vs Brandon Knight
Heaps and dollops of raves have been directed towards Lowry’s way, and deservingly so. He continues to burn unsuspecting defenses with plays that demand a high basketball IQ. Knight will have his hands full, but one thing he has going for him is a wide 6-6 wingspan that could frustrate Lowry. However, Knight also has a knack for turning the ball over (3.1 TO/game).
X-factor: Luis Scola
Pitted against the Swedish swingman Jonas Jerebko, it will be a classic case of offense against defense. Scola will have a harder time than usual getting his points as Jerebko is expected to use his athleticism and 6’10” frame. On the flipside, Scola and his marshmallow-soft defense has to recognize that Jerebko has a mediocre outside shot and should bang bodies once Jerebko takes it to the low post area.
Code Red: Greg Monroe has been the lone bright spot for the Pistons and the team’s only true threat on a nightly basis. Guys like Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey have seen significant dropoffs in terms of scoring and Ben Wallace has been reduced to a screen-setter, nowhere near the defensive stalwart he once was.