The Golden State Warriors continued their unbeaten post All-Star weekend streak on Saturday by taking down the Brooklyn Nets. With three wins in a row, the Warriors will embark on a tough six-game road trip on the East coast, starting with the Detroit Pistons on Monday. Last time the two teams met, Golden State cruised to an easy 18-point victory after an explosive first quarter.
Frontcourt: Andre Drummond is one of the most exciting young players in the league and generally a tough guy to deal with. His game is still limited to pick-and-roll offense and crashing the offensive glass, but he does both of those things very well. He does have a tendency to get into foul trouble, which is exactly what kept him from playing more than 20 minutes in the Pistons’ last game against the Dallas Mavericks. Greg Monroe is having a relatively efficient season and is always a threat in the post. Josh Smith fills in at the small forward position, and he has been pretty consistent in the month of February.
Backcourt: Kyle Singler is really a small forward, but is still in the starting lineup for spacing purposes and he has improved his three-point shooting this year. Singler is shooting 48.9% from behind the arc in February. Brandon Jennings has been more of a consistent playmaker this season, but he still has the tendency to take a whole lot of bad jumpers. When they are going in, Jennings is unstoppable, but those shots are also the reason he is shooting 37.7% from the field this season.
Keys to Warriors Victory:
Drummond can be a pretty intimidating presence down low. However, he is fifth in the league in personal fouls per game and the Warriors will need to keep attacking the paint and get the big man into foul trouble. If Golden State can force Drummond off the court and limit his playing time, they will neutralize a very efficient pick-and-roll threat and by far the best offensive rebounder in the NBA (5.4 offensive rebounds per game, leads the league).
Even when Jennings is missing shots, he generally keeps shooting. The Mavericks held him to 2 points on 1-7 shooting on Saturday and that was the first time in February that Jennings didn’t take 12 or more shots in a single game. You want to bait Jennings into taking shots, but at the same time make it tough on him.
Detroit Pistons (23-33) vs. Golden State Warriors (34-22)
4:30 PM PST, February 24, 2014
Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
TV: CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNBR 680 AM
Pistons Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Brandon Jennings
SG: Kyle Singler
SF: Josh Smith
PF: Greg Monroe
C: Andre Drummond
Key Reserves: G Rodney Stuckey G Will Bynum