Game Preview: Detroit Pistons (5-2) at Sacramento Kings (1-7)


The Sacramento Kings are continuing their brutal part of their schedule tonight with a matchup against the Detroit Pistons. With a record of 5-2, the Pistons are an early surprise team in the NBA, and will most certainly give the Kings havoc with their promising duo of Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. In order to get the best out of the Pistons in tonight’s competition, the purple and white must follow these three keys to the game.

Cousins vs. Drummond: Tonight will definitely display a battle between two of the best bigs in the NBA. Fans know about the dominance that DeMarcus Cousins brings on both ends of the court, but they might not be prepared to see the emergence of Pistons big Andre Drummond. Drummond is off to an exceptional start to the early season. The former UConn Husky through 7 games has averaged 19.4 points, 19.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks a contest (could of been a King if we didn’t pick Thomas Robinson).

To contain Drummond tonight, the Kings have a pretty good group of bigs to counter back with of Cousins, Kosta Koufos, and Willie Cauley-Stein. Hopefully if all are able to perform the way they should, their mixture of mass, length, and athleticism should at least be able to contain the beast that Drummond has become.

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Limit Turnovers: The Kings are tied for 23rd in turnovers with the Minnesota Timberwolves averaging 16 per game, and the Detroit Pistons are 5th in the league in forcing turnovers with 16.4 a game.

For the offense to be efficient tonight, the Kings must be careful with the ball on offense. This means limiting the number of bad passes, offensive fouls, and knucklehead plays that the Kings have committed too many times in the past couple of games.

The Kings will have to play clean basketball. When the Kings don’t turn the ball over, their offense flows well, and they are going to need a good offensive effort tonight against a Pistons team that is also ranked the 6th best defense in the league, by only allowing 96.1 points a game.

Backcourt Production: It looks like Darren Collison will be absent a third straight time for tonight’s game, which means that Rajon Rondo might be playing another 40+ minute game tonight. For the last couple of games, Rondo has played strong by being the ideal offensive playmaker Kings fans envisioned him being once he signed with the team. In the last two games, he has averaged 11 points, 13.5 assists, and 9 rebounds.

Marco Belinelli has also been an asset for the last couple of games as well. Starting the season off on a shooting slump, Belinelli seems to have shaken it off, and for the last couple of games has been the sharpshooter fans have envisioned him being once he was acquired. For the last two games Belinelli has shot 12/24 (.500) from the court and 6/10 (.600) from the beyond the arc, averaging 19.5 points a game.

The backcourt of the Kings not only need to produce on offense tonight, but they must have a solid performance on the defensive end as well. Drummond has started the season well, but another player that has also been lights out is his teammate Reggie Jackson.

So far the Pistons point guard has been a stud on both ends of the floor by averaging 22.7 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds a game, plus having a defensive rating of 92.3 (extremely good).

Jackson will try to be an irritant for the Kings guards tonight, so they better bring their A-game. Not only will Rondo and Belinelli have to produce, but players like Ben McLemore, James Anderson, and Seth Curry will also have to bring it tonight when their number is called.

Final Thoughts: While preparing for this article, I was contemplating in my mind what the outcome of this game will be, and everything has me leaning towards the Pistons. I mean, so far their roster looks really good, especially with a young and talented starting five on the rise. They also have been playing much better than Sacramento this season, plus the Kings have no momentum on their side coming off of their 6th straight loss.

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But I’m still picking the SACRAMENTO KINGS!

This may be the fan in me saying this (it is), but my gut is telling me that the Kings are going to win tonight. I think Cousins is going to outplay Drummond tonight and have a monster game. I also think Rondo will do a solid job in setting the offense as well. And my X-Factors for tonight are going to be both Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore.

Both have started the season off on slumps, but I think both will come out tonight with solid performances. I think Gay will be more efficient offensively and on the defensive end McLemore will utilize his freakish athleticism well by helping contribute to containing the Pistons guards in Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

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Like I said, this may be the fan in me making this prediction. I have no logical evidence to prove that the Kings will come out victorious tonight, but my gut is saying tonight might be the night the Kings finally turn things around and get that long and belated second win of the season.