By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Pistons | The Palace of Auburn Hills
When: Tuesday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York (3-6): The Knicks are looking to rebound from a home loss to the Hawks on Saturday night. It's been a slow start for New York -- first to assimilate new pieces into the rotation and more recently to make up for the loss of Tyson Chandler, the team's defensive anchor who is out 3-5 weeks with a leg injury. Word from the locker room is that effort and consistency need to improve. On the bright side, Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani are developing into a potent starting front court and now with J.R. Smith back in the fold, the team's depth on the wings should give Mike Woodson the ability to find the right combinations.
Detroit (3-6): After signing free agent Josh Smith and trading for Brandon Jennings, there were concerns entering this season about Detroit's ability to score the ball; both are physically gifted, but neither is known for his shot selection. Surprisingly, the Pistons rank 10th in offensive efficiency but are last in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. Twenty-year old center Andre Drummond can be a defensive game changer, as can Smith, but the Pistons' early struggles seem to confirm the questions about how these pieces would fit together.
The Numbers Game
After an uncharacteristic start to the season, the Knicks are up to 2nd in the NBA in fewest turnovers per game (13.1). They are also 9th in forcing turnovers (16.9 per game).
Matchup to Watch
Andrea Bargnani vs. Andre Drummond
Polar opposites in terms of style, these two will present challenges for each other. Drummond is an athletic specimen who possesses rare defensive instincts for such a young player. He can finish around the rim with the best of them (leads the league in field goal percentage at 66 percent), but his offensive game doesn't involve much else. He'll have to guard Bargnani, who has settled in to his new position as the Knicks' starting center, averaging 20 points on 52 percent shooting (46 percent from three) in five games since taking over for Chandler. Bargnani has been much more effective guarding back-to-the-basket bigs than ones who can pick-and-pop, so this could be a good matchup for him.
What to Look For
The Knicks were within five points of the Hawks just before the end of the third quarter. It got out of hand, however, as Atlanta attacked the basket and did a good job of moving the ball down the stretch. New York needs better communication if it's going to limit opponents' quality looks and trips to the free throw line. The key to tonight will be making Detroit settle for jumpshots and preventing them from getting into the lane. If the Knicks can do that, they should be in good shape with a playoff rematch against Indiana looming on Wednesday at The Garden.
Starters for tonight @detroitpistons : Udrih, Shumpert, Anthony, Martin, Bargnani. Felton (lower back/left hip) will not dress.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) November 19, 2013