Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 56th game of the season at home against the Detroit Pistons are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and guest Dan Feldman (@PistonPowered) who writes about the Pistons for PistonPowered an ESPN TrueHoop Network blog. Dan also does freelance work for the Associated Press.
Wizards Starters (18-37):
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster,
Nene, Trevor Booker, Emeka Okafor
[Nene is out with a sore shoulder.]
Pistons Starters (22-37):
Jose Calderon, Rodney Stuckey, Kyle Singler, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Pistons over the past week?)
@PistonPowered: In the last week, the Pistons have beaten the Bobcats (the Bobcats!), lost by 32, lost by 18 and lost by 11. Detroit has struggled amid several issues — injury (Andre Drummond and Brandon Knight), suspension (Will Bynum) and youth (Kim English, Khris Middleton and Viacheslav Kravtsov). Bynum should return tonight, and Knight might, too. That might mean the Pistons rely less on the aforementioned three rookies, who’ve been more miss than hit when pressing into larger roles.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
@PistonPowered: Andre Drummond. If it weren’t for Lawrence Frank limiting his role, Drummond might Rookie of the Year favorite right now. Drummond, with an ability to create dunks and block shots, has developed more quickly than nearly anyone expected. Unfortunately, Drummond is out injured, so feel free to return to your slumber. I just wanted to mention how well he’s playing, because I’m not sure that’s been appreciated enough nationally.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
@PistonPowered: John Wall-Greg Monroe. Wall swore revenge for this, and he’s 0-3 in games against Monroe since. Does he still care? I sure hope so. One was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, and the other has been, to date, the top player in the 2010 draft. Bragging rights are definitely on the line. [Ed. Note: Paul George, also drafted in 2010, isn't too shabby -- he's the first All-Star from that draft class.]
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@rashad20: During their pregame pressers tonight, both Randy Wittman and Lawrence Frank stressed the importance of stopping the opposing team’s point guard. Coach Frank discussed how much better the Wizards have played in transition since Wall arrived (he even made reference to the Wizards’ deadly corner 3-point shooting), and he stressed how important it is for the Pistons to slow him down. Coach Wittman mentioned that the last time the Wizards played the Pistons (back on February 13th, the last game before the All-Star break), Jose Calderon had his way with his team. Wall had 16 points and nine assists in the last matchup, but Calderon outplayed him 24 points–14 of those points coming the second half. Both players are good enough to get the best of the other on any given possession, but the player who is effective down the stretch will be the one who drives the opposing coach crazy.
The Spread: The Wizards are 6.5 point favorites over the Pistons; the over/under is 190.5 points (via USA Today).
@PistonPowered: Pistons 97, Wizards 92. The Pistons see a game like this on their schedule, and they play harder. They know this is an opportunity to snap their three-game losing streak and even pad their stats a little. That’s not necessarily the DNA of a championship team, but it seems to be the DNA of these Pistons.
@rashad20: Pistons 99, Wizards 86. The Wizards are playing well as of late, but the Pistons have won all three of their matchups against them for a reason. The game will be close, and then Rodney Stuckey or Will Bynum will provoke a “backbreaker” out of Steve Buckhantz.