Today will be the first time Little Caesars Arena will host the Pistons and Detroit Red Wings on the same day. The Red Wings draw the New Jersey Devils Saturday night with an 8 p.m Est. puck drop scheduled.
This is a Detroit Pistons team that has not won a ball game in a month and is in the midst of a 13-game losing streak as they prepare to take on former Piston Christian Wood and co. Pistons head coach Dwane Casey was forced to miss Thursday’s game in Indiana due to a personal matter leaving the head coaching duties to lead assistant Rex Kalamian.
It was Kalamian’s first time calling an entire game; he mentioned before the contest that he had not been in the lead chair for a whole game but had been forced to finish multiple games during his time with the Los Angeles Clippers when Doc Rivers was ejected.
Needless to say, Kalamian couldn’t guide the wounded Pistons to a road victory in Indiana, losing to the Pacers 122-113. Detroit did look energetic early on, deploying a full-court press against the Pacers often, but as the game wore on, it was evident that they’d struggle to overcome their injury woes.
The Detroit Pistons will look to end a 13-game slide in Saturday’s matinee vs. the Houston Rockets.
The Detroit Pistons will be without star forward Jerami Grant for at least six weeks due to a thumb injury, plus they’ve been without sharp-shooting big-man Kelly Olynyk now for about five weeks as he recovers from a grade-2 knee sprain.
Both players are vital to Detroit’s overall success. Although Grant is the teams’ top scorer averaging 20.1 points per game this season, losing Olynyk has left a significant void the organization has failed to fill in the frontcourt. After Isaiah Stewart, the Pistons have been forced to go to the likes of Trey Lyles, or rookie Luka Garza and even Grant at times at the five. The undersized Pistons continue to struggle on the boards, averaging 42.1 rebounds per game, which ranks 28th in the league.
The Detroit Pistons are averaging 100 points per game which is second-worst in the NBA, plus allow109.9 points per game, ranking them 21st.
Detroit Pistons rookie, Cade Cunningham, has found his game.
Unfortunately for the Pistons fans in attendance, loud mouth rookie Jalen Green will not be suiting up for the Rockets Saturday afternoon as he remains sidelined with a hamstring issue. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see the no. 1 and no. 2 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft go head-to-head because Cade Cunningham has found his stroke in recent weeks.
Despite averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 boards, and 4.5 assists on the season, the rookie has averaged 22.1 points while shooting a stellar 50% from beyond the arc over his last seven games.
Ironically, the Rockets have been performing better in Green’s absence and seem to have more continuity on the offensive end. Houston is expected to be without, Kevin Porter Jr, and Danuel House Jr.
The Rockets allow nearly 113 points per game and score 111, so this has the makings of a close ball game.