Pistons-Kings Preview

DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe are emerging big men who were

selected two spots apart in the 2010 draft.

Their head-to-head matchups have been fairly close

statistically, but Monroe’s Detroit Pistons have generally gotten

the better of Cousins’ Sacramento Kings.

Both will be in the spotlight Friday night in Sacramento in a

meeting of 2-5 teams that have struggled from the perimeter.

Sacramento chose Cousins fifth overall and Detroit selected

Monroe seventh in 2010, and both are key components for their

rebuilding teams. Cousins is among the league leaders at 22.3

points per game, and Monroe is second on the Pistons with a scoring

average of 17.6.

Detroit is 5-1 in this series since these players joined these

teams. Monroe is averaging 15.2 points on 56.7 percent shooting

along with 9.5 rebounds per game in those meetings while Cousins is

averaging 17.0 points on 46.6 percent shooting along with 10.5

rebounds per contest.

Interior play could prove to be critical since neither team

shoots 3-pointers well. Sacramento is sixth-worst in the league at

30.7 percent and Detroit is third-worst at 27.4.

While Sacramento turned in its best defensive effort in its last

game, Detroit was once again abysmal at that end of the floor its

last time out.

The Kings ended a five-game slide with a 107-86 home rout of

Brooklyn on Wednesday, limiting the Nets to 37.8 percent shooting –

a season low for a Sacramento opponent.

“We talk about it all the time as a team, our identity is as a

defensive team and a defensive team that must rebound, that’s gotta

run and get some easy baskets and value and share the ball and I

thought we were very true to what we need to be tonight,” coach

Michael Malone said. “And it’s gotta be the same thing against

Detroit on Friday night.”

The Pistons’ losing streak reached four Tuesday with a 113-95

defeat at Golden State, which shot 60.0 percent to match the best

effort by any team this season. Detroit is last in the NBA in

opponent field-goal percentage at 49.3.

“I would have to see what we are doing as a whole,” center Andre

Drummond said. “I can’t see everything when I am on the court so I

would have to see the film to see how you can correct that.”

The Pistons trailed by as many as 29 points against the

Warriors. The lopsided score allowed first-year coach Maurice

Cheeks to give Luigi Datome and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope more

playing time, and the rookies combined for 19 points off the bench

on 8-of-17 shooting.

“They made some open shots,” Cheeks said. “That’s what we need.

With the big guys we have down low, in order for them to be really

good, we’ve got to get some outside shooting and those guys stepped

in and made some shots.”

For Sacramento, Cousins was limited to 15 points Wednesday after

totaling 68 in his last two games. Marcus Thornton helped pick up

the slack with 24 points as part of a bench that totaled 57.

Kings reserves are averaging 43.0 points to rank third in the