OKC Thunder (1-0, 0-0 road) vs. Detroit Pistons (0-1, 0-0 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.7 (16th), Pistons – 108.5 (12th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 95.6 (6th), Pistons – 111.8 (22nd)
Pace: Thunder – 99.4 (9th), Pistons – 90.3 (28th)
View from the enemy: Piston Powered
Ah, just like last season. 1-0 and heading to Detroit. This time though, we’re not going there with a “Holy crap! We’re 1-0!!!” feeling. We’re not going to Detroit fully expecting a return to reality. Nope. Now we’re expecting another 2-0 start. Just like last year.
That first game is out of the way and with a win in the pocket, it feels good. But that first road test is always a little something different. At times, this Thunder team has been flat on the road and in an environment like Detroit tonight where there likely won’t be a great crowd, I could see it happening. Of course OKC was a great road team last season, but this is a new year.
Detroit coming in: The Pistons lost their opener, a road game against the Nets on Wednesday. They had a shot to tie at the end, but missed. Nobody really stood, but they had seven guys score in double figures, with four of those coming off the bench.
Physically, the Pistons have one of the ideal guys to guard Kevin Durant. Tayshaun Prince has the height, the length and the skill to prevent KD from just shooting over the top. Problem is, the Pistons don’t really have much to match OKC offensively. Ben Gordon is a good scorer, but OKC has an ideal defender to check him in Thabo Sefolosha. (And when it’s not Gordon, it’s Richard Hamilton who Thabo matches well too.) Rodney Stuckey is solid, but Russell Westbrook is better. And then of course Ben Wallace.
Where the Pistons can do damage is if they get the drive and kick going. They hit eight 3-pointers Wednesday with Charlie Villanueva knocking down four. Detroit has versatile bigs in Villanueva and Austin Daye, but they aren’t the strongest inside players. Jeff Green matches up very well with Daye and the Thunder bench should be able to provide some good matchups as well. Overall, pretty much every matchup favors the Thunder. The Pistons are older, slower and not as athletic as OKC. They have some players with skill, but this isn’t a very good Detroit squad.
This is the type of game that the Thunder should win in a take-care-of-business fashion. Often times these games aren’t pretty. The opponent slops it up a little, plays physical and tries to take the Thunder out of their element. But the key is, is to just win.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go 82-0.
(Remember, TGR is doing a call-in show at 9:30! Make to listen in and if you’ve got something to say, give them a ring.)