Saturday was full of fantastic NBA action, so it's only right that the league shows mercy and allows us time to recover with a light schedule spread throughout the day. Games begin at 2 p.m. Eastern when the Detroit Pistons visit the Brooklyn Nets and are mostly staggered until the Kings visit the Lakers. Here's a rundown of what to expect Sunday.
Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets
2 p.m., FSD, YES
Raise your hand if you had the Pistons with a better record than the Nets to start the season. Brooklyn has lost seven of its last eight games and are currently on a four-game losing streak. Injuries, "chemistry" and growing pains have them looking like a team in a dire situation. The thirst for a win is real for Brooklyn, who could be without Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Jason Terry again.
Brandon Jennings, the Pistons' leading scorer, is shooting 37.4 percent and putting up 16.3 attempts per game. Josh Smith continues his incredible chucking campaign, attempting 5.2 three-point attempts per game while making 29 percent of them.
Photo Credit: Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports Images
Can Andre Drummond wreak havoc? That Andre Drummond guy -- you know, the one out of UConn that seemed like there would be a 20 percent chance he'd pan out -- is averaging a double-double with 12.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. With an oldy-moldy Kevin Garnett trying to hold together Brooklyn's frontcourt, no Lopez and Andray Blatche trying to patch up a sinking ship like a piece of bubble gum, it's a perfect opportunity for the Pistons to attack the paint with their enormously effective center.
66.4 percent shooting for Drummond. Do yourself a favor and look the other way when he's at the charity stripe, though. He's shooting 24 percent from the line. It's only a matter of time until Drum-a-Drummond becomes a thing.
3:30 p.m. ET, CSCH, PRIME
This could have been a must-watch game, but now it's a "watch in case of emergency" game mostly.
Chicago, man. Derrick Rose tore his meniscus just 11 games into the Bulls' season and is out indefinitely. The show must go on, though, and they're in the midst of a six-game road trip without Jimmy Butler.
Los Angeles is one of the worst defensive teams in the league, allowing 107.4 points per 100 possessions (27th out of 30), according to Basketball-Reference. The Bulls are one of the worst teams on offense, scoring just 100.6 per 100 possessions (25th out of 30). Chicago just lost its point guard. This game might not be the most pleasing to the eye.
Captain Kirk to the rescue? Kirk Hinrich just had his role beefed up for the second straight season and will return to his role as leading point guard for the Bulls. His role could be even more important this time around, however, without Nate Robinson on board. There's no way he can replicate Rose's impact, but if he can control the offense and bump up his three-point shooting percentage, the Bulls could survive without Rose, again.
Hinrich shot 39 percent from deep last season but has opened this season shooting 32 percent.
6 p.m. ET, FSFL, FSAZ
The Phoenix Suns opened the season surprisingly, with five wins in their first seven games. Then, they went on a four-game losing streak, and are now without Eric Bledsoe. He's dealing with a shin injury. It could be a problem when his response to "whats bothering you the most" is "walking:"
Bledsoe (shin) didn't do much at #Suns practice today in Orlando. What bothers him the most? "Walking." Haven't got to runs, cuts & jumps.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) November 23, 2013
Without Bledsoe and with the Magic on the second game of a back-to-back, this game might be tough to watch. If anything, tune in to watch promising rookie Victor Oladipo. Here's a little floater from the rook' to beat the buzzer in their loss:
How about that Arron Afflalo guy? Arron Afflalo is kinda doing great things out East. Low-key, of course. He's averaging 22.1 points per game on 48 percent shooting. That's good, great, fantastic, stupendous. But uh. He's shooting 5.6 three-point attempts per game at a 52 percent success rate. That's kinda wild. Phoenix will have its hands full trying to deal with Afflalo, especially without Bledsoe to hound him around the court.
7 p.m. ET, RTRM. FSOK
The Utah Jazz are 1-13. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-3 and undefeated at home while Utah hasn't won on the road. This will probably be ugly in a hurry when the NBA's leading scorer (some guy named Kevin Durant) goes to work against the NBA's worse defense (the Jazz allow 108.6 points per 100 possessions, per Basketball-Reference).
Good luck, Utah. Just don't leave Steven Adams hanging after the game is all I ask. No one should have to give themselves dap:
What about those other Oklahoma City guys? The Thunder have watched guys not named Ibaka, Westbrook or Durant (shouts to Perkins as well) move in and out of their rotation over the last few years and have a new batch of talent to integrate. Jeremy Lamb is shooting 38 percent filling in for Kevin Martin. Rookie Steve Adams is averaging 18.1 minutes per game (that's the same amount of minutes as Perkins) off the bench. Scott Brooks and Sam Presti are learning about their "new" roster still, but it seems they are building up a few new reliable pieces to play with.
Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers
9:30 p.m. ET, TWSN, CSCA
A good ole' fashioned Lakers vs. Kings game to end the night, though it's hard to take seriously this rivalry that blossomed more than a decade ago. "Shaqramento" may have been the final straw in calling these teams rivals currently, though big man DeMarcus Cousins probably considers everyone his rival. Even post-game handshakes:
The Lakers are likely to be without Kobe Bryant, though who knows. With the word he could see himself playing in November tumbling out of the Mamba's mouth it's hard to count out a surprise entrance from the rafters in Staples Center:
But hey, the Lakers aren't doing terribly for a team with a broken down Pau Gasol, absent Steve Nash and no Kobe Bryant. They're 6-7 on the season and on a two-game winning streak. They've got a three-game road trip following their game against the King's Sunday, so a win puts them at .500 and adds to the momentum they're kinda-sorta building up to Kobe's return.
The Kings are 4-8 despite a solid season from DeMarcus Cousins, who is scoring a career-high 21.7 points per game.
Can the Lakers' defense hold up? In a complete and utter surprise this season, the Lakers defense has outperformed their offense. Go figure. Point guard Isaiah Thomas is everything the Lakers have struggled against for the last forever years. He's a quick and aggressive point guard who looks for his shot. The Lakers are trying to make it work with Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar, but Thomas is having a great season. He's putting up 18.7 points per game as the Kings' second-leading scorer and he's playing off the bench. The Lakers have a handful of bigs to put on Cousins, but can their perimeter defense contain Thomas?