I don't feel bad today since we won a game. I don't want to jinx the Rockets, and if they had lost to Minny I would have been pretty pissed. So anyway, nice win, but you've gotta move on.
The Pistons stand at 21-41, a disappointment for such a proud franchise, made worse by the fact that they spent a ton of money last summer on Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. The big story for them right now is the injury of the Rodney Stuckey, who collapsed into a coach's arms during the Pistons' game against the Cavaliers on Friday. He was released from the hospital on Saturday, but he'll be undergoing further testing and is out indefinitely. He's a great young player and I think I speak for all of us when I say that I hope he's going to be okay.
The Rockets won the first meeting between these two teams back in December, which was also known as the first game where Tracy McGrady
was allowed to play came back from injury. I stayed up late that night to watch that game, forsaking my physical chemistry final studying to see him play.
I'm not sure if Bynum or Ben Gordon will start. Bynum is averaging ten points and four assists per game. but most importantly is one of Gus Johnson's most recognizable phrases (Bynum...TO THE BUCKET!!!). He also has mad hops.
Ben Gordon is exhibiting the classic signs of a player who played hard during his contract year, then signed for the money and is cruising through the next couple of seasons. It's always difficult to predict how a player will respond after signing a fat contract. Some set out to prove their worth, while others coast like Gordon. He almost helped knock off the Celtics last season the playoffs, but this season has just been awful. Of course, that means he'll kill the Rockets.
AB's gotta be exhausted, but I say he's still better than Bynum or Gordon.
I expect to see Shane chasing Rip around the court rather than Martin. That being said, both have great offensive skills and can shoot their teams to victory or to defeat. Rip is averaging 19/5/3 and has always played the Rockets well.
Kevin Martin has been playing really well since coming the Rockets, and I get really excited every time I think about next year when he gets paired with Yao. Brooks, Martin, Scola (please Morey, make it happen), and Yao is disgusting to think about.
Prince has always been known as a defender, but I think his offense is very underrated. Since the Pistons won the championship, he's been improving steadily on offense and is no longer a liability of the offensive side of the ball. His scoring is down, but he dealt with an injury for most of the first half of the season. Last but not least, he's straight outta Compton.
Shane returns to where he grew up in Detroit. I'm sure he's going to want to play well. Neither of these guys will guard each other much at all. As stated earlier, Shane will most likely chase Rip around and Prince will probably stick with Martin.
Luis Scola vs. Jonas Jerebko
Only if Luis was matched up against Amare or Dirk would he not get the edge. He's playing ridiculously well and carrying the offense at times. His 25/21 against the T-Wolves was thoroughly impressive and downright badass.
Fortunately, he's not matched up against either of the guys listed above. He's matched against Jerebko, a rookie out of Sweden. He's averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds per game, and stepped up his game when Ben Wallace went down with a knee injury. He played poorly against the Cavs on Friday, but I'm sure that having a player collapse wasn't easy for anyone in the game. In the previous three games he averaged 14/10, so his play has certainly improved. I look for him to play well, but not well enough to balance out Luis.
Chuck Hayes vs. Jason Maxiell
Maxiell is filling in for the injured Wallace, averaging 10/8 since Wallace went down. He's a banger and plays with the same intensity as Chuck. News flash: he's also taller thank Chuck.
Pistons: Either Gordon or Bynum will start on the bench, plus Kwame Brown and Villanueva. A lineup full of guys who had/have talent, but haven't reached their full potential/just don't care.
Rockets: You know, Chase, Jeffries, etc. Andersen sat out last night's game with a sore lower back. I have no idea about his availability for this game.
Pistons: Wallace (knee), Stuckey (TBD)
Rockets: Lowry, Ariza, Andersen?
Prediction: Coming off a game last night in Minny where the starters had to play a ton despite winning big, I'd say Rockets lose by 8 in a close one.