COMMENTARY | The Indiana Pacers are sitting at 3-0 as they look ahead to tonight's game against the Detroit Pistons. Detroit has a record of 2-1 and its fans are extremely excited with the brand of basketball that the Pistons have brought back to town.
There are three keys for the Pacers to come away with a win and remain perfect on the season:
1. Move the Basketball Well and Stretch the Floor
With the height that the Pistons possess in the post, the Pacers are going to have to move the basketball around the perimeter and stretch the floor. Indiana usually likes to play through the post, but that is not going to be as easy as usual against this year's Detroit Pistons.
George Hill, Paul George, and Lance Stephenson are going to need to work well together and force the opposing defense to move around and open up the post for their big guys. Andre Drummond is one of the most dangerous shot-blockers in the NBA, so the Pacers aren't going to be able to drive blindly to the rim, either.
2. Play Good Transition Defense
Detroit loves to get up and down the court quickly and now that Brandon Jennings is back in the lineup, is more capable to do just that. Indiana has done a good job in the regular season to this point of getting back in transition, but still got beat in this area against the Orlando Magic on opening night at times. Even the Pistons' big men can run the floor well, so both David West and Roy Hibbert will have to be alert and ready to get back quickly.
3. Limit Turnovers
One of the Pacers' main concerns so far this season is their turnover problems. While they haven't been exceptionally terrible, they also have given the basketball away more times than head coach Frank Vogel would like.
Not having a true point guard is one reason that the Pacers turn the ball over more frequently than most championship contenders, so George Hill will have to work on limiting those mistakes as the season continues. The Pistons are a very good defensive team, especially at the rim, so the Pacers need to make solid passes into the post and drive to the rim hard when they do drive. They aren't going to be able to make lazy passes, and they certainly can't afford to be careless with their dribbling.
Overall, this should be a very entertaining game to watch. The Pacers are favored heading into the matchup, but they can't allow themselves to take Detroit lightly. Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith are two players who have hurt Indiana in the past and now they are teaming up with Greg Monroe, Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, and the rest of that solid Pistons roster.
Pacers fans shouldn't expect an easy game, but if the Pacers play well in these three categories, they should be able to come home to face the Bulls on Wednesday night with a 4-0 record.
Evan Massey lives in Indianapolis and has followed the Indiana Pacers for the past 16 years. He has written for many sports websites including ProSportsExtra.com, Hoops-Nation.com, ProFootballSpot.com, and NaptownsFinest.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @massey_evan.
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