Detroit Pistons vs Oklahoma City Thunder

The Detroit Pistons will fight for positioning when they take on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, April 5th at 8:00 PM EST at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. The broadcast is available on Fox Sports Detroit and Fox Sports Oklahoma; radio is available via 97.1 FM The Ticket and WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP).

How to Watch

What: Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK

When: Friday, April 5th at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Oklahoma | 97.1 FM The Ticket, WWLS 98.1FM OKC / 930AM (ESP)

Detroit Pistons (Away)

Head Coach: Dwane Casey {All-Time 412-346 | MIN, TOR, DET}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Reggie Jackson - (G) Bruce Brown - (G) Wayne Ellington - (F) Blake Griffin - (C) Andre Drummond

The Detroit Pistons are in a battle for playoff seeding at the moment. With a record of 39-39, the Pistons are ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference. Were the playoffs to start today, they would face the Philadelphia 76ers. They will manage their health while battling to stay in the top eight.

The Pistons have struggled as of late, owing to an injury to Blake Griffin. In their last ten matches, the Pistons are 4-6 and have recently lost back-to-back matches to the Indiana Pacers. The Western Conference playoff participants are set, so the Pistons will look to defeat a more comfortable Thunder team.

The status of Blake Griffin is still up in the air and Thon Maker has yet to prove himself a worthy replacement. The Pistons are thin in the paint and will need all the help they can get against the Oklahoma front line. Detroit will need to present a team effort on the glass if they hope to defeat the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder (Home)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 195-129 | OKC}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Russell Westbrook - (G) Terrence Ferguson - (F) Paul George - (F) Jerami Grant - (C) Steven Adams

The Oklahoma City Thunder narrowly missed the cut-off to qualify for the 2019 NBA Playoffs. With a record of 45-33, the top eight in the West is set with the Thunder in seventh place. They own only a half-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs. With four games to go the Thunder still have time to fall to eight, or even climb to fifth.

The Thunder have struggled in recent matches, going a paltry 3-7 in their last ten. Their current form is concerning, as they've lost to competitive playoff squads. They will have a slight reprieve taking on the Pistons and Timberwolves, before an end of season back-to-back against the Rockets and Bucks.

The Pistons are not yet guaranteed a place in the NBA Playoffs, so the Thunder must be careful. Should Blake Griffin be in the lineup, the Thunder will have to match a unique offensive talent. With their poor run of shooting, the Thunder will have to be diligent converting inside against one of the leagues best rim protectors, Andre Drummond.

What's At Stake?

The Detroit Pistons and the Oklahoma City Thunder have a rather one-sided all-time series. In 20 regular season matches, the Thunder lead the Pistons 15-5.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would bring them within a game of the sixth place from Los Angeles Clippers.

A win for the Detroit Pistons would give them a full-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets who trail them in seventh.

Questions to answer

Can the Pistons finish above .500?

Can the Thunder solve their defensive issues?

We are going to compare the Detroit Pistons and the Oklahoma City Thunder in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Task For The Pistons Is Simple

The Detroit Pistons are having one of their more successful, if not more stressful seasons in recent history. With a record of 39-39, the Pistons are sixth in the Eastern Conference with four games left to go.

The bottom three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference are being contested between the Pistons, Magic, Nets, and Heat. All of those teams are dealing with their own issues in terms of schedule and health, but the Pistons seem to be in the most favorable position.

Detroit don't have the luxury of looking forward to who they might face in the post-season. With just a game separating them from the ninth position in the East, they absolutely need to finish with a positive record to make the playoffs. Griffin in the lineup or not, their success will define the future of the Drummond-Griffin core.

The Thunder Have Fallen in the Table

The Oklahoma City Thunder were once near the top of the Western Conference table. Sitting as high as second place, a recent failure to perform over the month of March sent the Thunder toppling down the rankings and now into seventh place.

They are lucky that the Western Conference playoffs are set and that they are qualified. The Thunder's ability on the court has taken a dive and many question why. Once first in turnovers forced, the Thunder are now 14th. They are also 19th in points allowed per possession, showing their poor transition defense, and are now dead last in terms of offensive efficiency.

It is easy to blame the streakiness of shooting, but the main issue for the Thunder is that they are failing to get easy baskets. With Adam's inability outside of five feet, opponents are comfortably dropping two defenders off of the ball screen to stop the drive. While the Thunder's shooting can improve, they need to find a way to create a more efficient offense. Especially in this match, where Andre Drummond will be patrolling the paint.

Detroit Pistons Roster Notes

F Blake Griffin - 3 Apr 2019 - Day To Day (Knee) - Griffin did not play in Wednesday's (Apr. 3) game.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G-F Andre Roberson - 21 Mar 2019 - Out (Knee) - Roberson is still without a timetable for his return, though he has progressed to some on-court drills.

Head-to-Head: Reggie Jackson (DET) vs Russell Westbrook (OKC)

The point guard position is the area of focus in this match between the Detroit Pistons and the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the status of Blake Griffin up in the air, it falls to Reggie Jackson to lead his team. On the other side, Russell Westbrook is coming off of an all-time performance.

Reggie Jackson

Point Guard | 6-3, 208lb (190cm, 94kg) | Boston College | Exp. 7 Years

15.5 PPG | 4.2 APG | 2.6 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .426 FG% | .369 3P%

Jackson has done his best to lead the Detroit Pistons in the absence of their star forward. The Italian-born point guard is averaging 22.0 points, 4.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds in his last three contests. He is, however, hurting his team in the turnover department, as he's committed 13 turnovers in his last three games. Jackson will need to tighten up his control and focus if he wants to stop the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Russell Westbrook

Point Guard | 6-3, 200lb (190cm, 90kg) | UCLA | Exp. 10 Years

23.0 PPG | 10.5 APG | 11.1 RPG | 2.0 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 4.5 TOV | .426 FG% | .286 3P%

Russell Westbrook sets so many individual records it is almost unsurprising. In his last game, Westbrook posted 20 points, 21 assists, and 20 rebounds in a win over the Lakers. The last person to have a 20-20-20 game? Wilt Chamberlain. Not to take away from his accomplishments, but the Lakers were a weak squad. Westbrook won't get the same looks in the paint against the Pistons and thus must rely on his shooting and playmaking to punish Detroit.

Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and Odds

If you live in New Jersey you can now bet on the match between Detroit Pistons and OKC Thunder, here:

Sportsbook Detroit Pistons Oklahoma City Thunder Link
888Sport NJ +425 -590

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