Kings-Pistons Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 31, 2012
After consecutive wins over a pair of first-place teams, the Detroit Pistons are beginning to play with some confidence on their home floor. The short-handed Sacramento Kings have also turned it around at home, but they've been woeful on the road as they begin a four-game trip. The Pistons seek their fourth straight victory at The Palace on Tuesday night when they open 2013 against the Kings, one of the NBA's worst teams away from home. Detroit (11-22) has won four of five after beating Southeast Division leader Miami and then-Central leader Milwaukee in back-to-back home games. "We've just got keep taking advantage of these games at home while we have this streak," forward Tayshaun Prince told the league's official website. Seemingly forgotten until recently, forward Charlie Villanueva has played a key role in the past four contests, averaging 15.5 points and shooting 55.8 percent from the field. He averaged 6.8 points in his first 19 games. Center Greg Monroe could also be factor against the Kings, having averaged 26.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the last two meetings. Monroe posted his first career triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists in a 105-103 loss at Sacramento on Nov. 7. With guard Rodney Stuckey questionable because of a left ankle sprain, Will Bynum looks to continue his recent surge. He's scored 21.3 points and shot 52.9 percent - going 7 of 11 from 3-point range - in his last three contests. The Pistons have made 46.7 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 104.0 points in their last five. Detroit should have a good chance to keep rolling against a Sacramento team that has allowed 106.2 points per contest during its six-game road losing streak. The Kings (11-19) have won four straight at home, but their 1-12 road record is worst in the conference. With Sacramento's backcourt banged up, Isaiah Thomas made the most of his second straight start Sunday with a season-high 27 points in a 118-96 win over Boston. "What he's been able to do is kind of give us a little injection of the steam that we need," coach Keith Smart said. "He's done that, plus he's making his shots.'' Thomas is expected to get another start Tuesday with guards Aaron Brooks and Tyreke Evans sidelined due to injury. The Kings could also be without guard Marcus Thornton after he suffered a sprained left ankle Sunday. DeMarcus Cousins will try to build off his 12-point, 10-assist, 10-rebound effort in Sunday's 118-96 victory over Boston. Cousins had 21 points and 11 rebounds to help Sacramento snap a five-game losing streak to the Pistons in November. Sacramento has recorded at least 28 assists in four straight games, its best such streak of the season. Detroit, though, has been tough defensively on its home floor, allowing 87.4 points in its last five games.
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