|The Palace of Auburn Hills|
|Sun Sports HD|
|Chauncey Billups||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|Richard Hamilton||SG||Maurice Evans|
|Tayshaun Prince||SF||Hedo Turkoglu|
|Antonio McDyess||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Rasheed Wallace||C||Dwight Howard|
The Pistons enter tonight's matchup with the Magic having won 10 straight games, yet nobody seems to want to talk about them. That's fine with Chauncey Billups. From the Denver Post:
"Nobody knows we're winning," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "All people know is that Pau Gasol went to Los Angeles, Shaq (O'Neal) went to Phoenix and Jason Kidd is supposed to be on his way to Dallas."
But Billups, a Denver native, said he likes being the "hunter." He doesn't mind being under the radar in February, as long as he's still lacing his sneakers in June.
"Guys are making big-name trades, but to win a championship, you've got to be a cohesive unit," he said. "You can't have all all-stars. Some guys have to sacrifice some things and you have to be a little lucky, as well. Teams are making some great moves, but you still need time."
(Hat-tip: Detroit Bad Boys)
The Magic always have trouble with the Pistons, largely due to Billups' dominance over our point guards. Billups isn't big by NBA standards, but he's large enough (6'3", 201 pounds) to give Jameer Nelson (5'10", 180 pounds) fits, as Need4Sheed illustrated in this post. But he's not the only Piston who poses matchup problems for us. In the Magic's last visit to the Palace of Auburn Hills, a 101-93 defeat, Hedo Turkoglu let Rasheed Wallace abuse him for 13 points in the first quarter alone. The Pistons lead by 21 points at the end of that period and playing the remaining 36 minutes was a formality. Stan Van Gundy is going to have to adjust his defense before tonight's game if he hopes to leave the Palace a happy man.
For some good mojo, here's video of Rashard Lewis' game-winner against the Pistons from earlier this year:
Tipoff's at 7:30 PM on Sun Sports HD. Tonight is the first part of a road back-to-back against the Pistons and the Raptors, teams we went a combined 0-12 against last season. Let's see if we can't get the stretch run off to a good start against the most formidable team in the Eastern Conference, the one I most fear heading into the playoffs.
UPDATE: Pistons Nation has its preview up, featuring a pretty cool photo manipulation of Dwight Howard's greatest enemy: Sheedonite! PN thinks the Pistons should be concerned with Hedo Turkoglu, especially on the pick-and-roll in the fourth quarter. Considering the damage Turk's done in the fourth quarters of games this year, I'd say PN is pretty spot-on.