It has taken nearly a third of the regular season, but the Detroit Pistons are finally looking like a cohesive unit as they prepare to host the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. The Pistons come into the game having won three of their last four, and are coming off a thrilling one-point victory in Boston on Wednesday. The Bobcats have played well in their own right, following up an eight-point victory over Sacramento with a 104-102 win in Toronto.
Charlotte has one of the top defensive units in the league but will face a stiff test against the Pistons frontcourt of Andre Drummond, Greg Munroe and Josh Smith. The trio averages 43.5 points and 28.1 rebounds, along with 4.3 steals and 3.6 blocks. The Bobcats will need a strong game from center Al Jefferson, who poured in 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds against the Raptors for his seventh double-double.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Charlotte), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE BOBCATS (12-14): With 26 games in the books, Charlotte fans are starting to see what made Jefferson one of the league's marquee free agents last offseason. While he has struggled both with health (having missed nine games with an ankle injury) and offense (averaging 15.6 points, 0.8 below his career average), Jefferson is averaging a double-double for the month (15.4 points and 10.6 boards) and remains one of the top post defenders in the conference. Jefferson played a season-high 40 minutes versus Toronto.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (13-14): After Drummond struggled with Miami's pressure in a 110-95 loss to the Heat earlier this month, Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks sat down with the 20-year-old and shared his thoughts.
"He doesn't really know that us playing Miami (five days earlier), beating Miami in Miami and then coming back to play them a couple days later - he's probably one of the guys that really didn't understand the magnitude of the way Miami was going to play," Cheeks told the Detroit News. "He learns every game."
1. Detroit has won the last three meetings and eight of nine overall.
2. Jefferson averages 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in 21 career games versus Detroit.
3. Charlotte ranks last in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 30.6 percent.