The Pacers will put their team mission and maturity to the test when they face the Pistons on the road Tuesday night. Remaining singularly focused on each game with the importance of every win heightened in an effort to earn the top seed in the East has been a very public goal for the Pacers.
But there are distractions tonight that will require a high level of professional maturity from the Pacers which may be tough considering all of the key young players they have in the rotation. It would be easy to look ahead to the high-profile matchup with the Bulls on Wednesday and lose sight of the problems the new-look Pistons pose. Plus, the Pacers will start the game down one starter with George Hill resting his sore hip. Moving to 4-0 will not be as simple as showing up at the Palace.
The Pistons have become one of the few teams in the league with the length and ability to match the Pacers. Josh Smith has always been a tough cover for Paul George and with Greg Monroe playing power forward and the long wingspan of Andre Drummond at center, the Pacers' size will not be a factor. Hopefully, the experience of David West and Roy Hibbert will trump the developing young talent of Monroe and especially Drummond which should make for an intriguing matchup between the two front courts.
Also, Brandon Jennings scored 14 points in his debut with the Pistons in their win over Boston on Sunday after missing the team's first two games with a jaw injury. Assuming he doesn't start, Jennings adds a strong offensive spark to the reserve rotation for Detroit which also includes Rodney Stuckey, Kyle Singler and rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
For more on the Pistons, check out Detroit Bad Boys. Also, leave your thoughts and observations on the game in the comments.