The Detroit Pistons begin a five-game road trip in the 2020-21 NBA when they meet the OKC Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday. Both teams will come into the matchup after enduring losses in their respective last outings.
The visitors endured an 81-125 setback against the New York Knicks, the 44-point defeat marking their worst reverse in more than 27 years. Saturday’s defeat was the Detroit Pistons’ sixth in eight games. They own the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 14-35.
Meanwhile, it’s a similar situation for the OKC Thunder, who have a 20-29 record (third-worst in the West) on the season and have lost five of their last six outings. Their 85-133 blowout defeat to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday was their worst in franchise history.
Fixture - Detroit Pistons vs OKC Thunder | 2020-21 NBA Season.
Date & Time - Monday, April 5th; 7:00 PM ET (Tuesday, April 6th; 4:30 AM IST).
Venue - Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK.
Detroit Pistons Preview
Of late, it has seemed as if the Detroit Pistons are just trying their best not to lose by a big margin. They lack the star power to play better, despite the presence of Jerami Grant, who has produced the best season of his career.
With a tough five-game trip ahead, it’s up to coach Dwane Casey to prepare his team with a mindset to win.
They have the sixth-worst offensive rating (107.8), but they have a middle-of-the-pack 17th-best defensive rating (111.8) this season. If they can stop the OKC Thunder from scoring while having a passable offensive night, they could have a shot at leaving Oklahoma City with a win.
Key Player - Jerami Grant
This season may not have been what Jerami Grant envisioned it to be. He has the stats to be an All-Star, but he was snubbed probably because of his team’s dismal record.
Averaging career-highs with 22.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists a night, the 6' 8" forward has been the Detroit Pistons’ best player this campaign.
Grant has been struggling in the last few games, and that has resulted in some of the Detroit Pistons’ recent losses.
In his last five games, he has scored only 14.8 points per game on 38.6% shooting from the field, with the Detroit Pistons winning only twice in this period.
On Monday, he will match up with the OKC Thunder’s Kenrich Williams, who Grant should take advantage of because of his superior size and skills.
Detroit Pistons Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Saben Lee l Shooting Guard - Josh Jackson l Small Forward - Saddiq Bey l Power Forward - Jerami Grant l Center - Mason Plumlee.
OKC Thunder Preview
The OKC Thunder have seven players in their injury report, including Al Horford, who has been jettisoned for the season a week ago to give the younger players more game-time.
Chief among the injured is the franchise’s best player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The young combo guard has a plantar fasciitis injury that has forced him to miss his team's last six games.
Injuries have been the biggest reason for the mounting losses this season for the OKC Thunder, who have a starting lineup that is far different from the one that started the season. No matter how competitive they have been and how good they’ve played against some of the best teams, they cannot compete for consistent periods when their top players are out.
Key Player - Moses Brown
The OKC Thunder signed Moses Brown on a multi-year deal a week ago. Since becoming a starter on March 27, the 7' 2" center has registered a double-double, averaging 11.6 points and 13 rebounds per game in 27.9 minutes of action.
He was in the G League bubble in February before his big signing with the Thunder.
As a center for the Oklahoma City Blue, Brown put up 18.5 points, 13.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Six of those rebounds were at the offensive end, where he dominated the paint, earning Player of the Week honors and being named to the All-G League First Team and All-Defensive Team.
His matchup with the Detroit Pistons’ Mason Plumlee could be key on Monday.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Theo Maledon l Shooting Guard - Svi Mykhailiuk l Small Forward - Aleksej Pokusevski l Power Forward - Kenrich Williams l Center - Moses Brown.
Pistons vs Thunder Match Prediction
The OKC Thunder are scoring just 105.8 (27th-best) per game, while the Detroit Pistons have put up 106.8 (25th-best). However, teams are scoring just 110.9 points (10th-best) against the Detroit Pistons.
With so many players out, it’s been difficult for the OKC Thunder to achieve consistency on the floor. Against the Detroit Pistons, scoring could be an issue, as none of coach Mark Daigneault’s players are used to being big-time scorers at this level on a regular basis.
It’s doubtful the Thunder will be able to capitalize on the Detroit Pistons’ defensive issues, which should give the Motor City boys the victory.