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Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy knows team needs to get back on defense tonight

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First game of the season kicks off tonight. The Pistons are in town and the Nuggets are healthy.

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
Game 1: 2014-15 NBA Season
Pistons logo
@

0-0 (0-0 on road)
Series 0-0
0-0 (0-0 at home)
Oct. 29, 2014
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Brandon Jennings PG Ty Lawson
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG Arron Afflalo
Kyle Singler SF Danilo Gallinari
Josh Smith PF Kenneth Faried
Andre Drummond C Timofey Mozgov
Notes
Detroit Bad Boys Blogs Denver Stiffs
Cartier Martin (mild plantar fascia strain, right foot) is questionable...Greg Monroe (NBA suspension) and Jodie Meeks (stress reaction, lower back) are out. 
Injuries Nobody!!! (J.J. Hickson is suspended for the first five games of the season.)
Greg Monroe will come off the bench and is on a one-year deal with the team. Etc... Hickson won't play, but has to be on active roster, Brian Shaw must have two inactives other than Hickson.

I'm always excited for the NBA season, I'm a lunatic and so are all of you. First game starts tonight, a home opener. The Pistons finished the season 29-53 and went out and hired one of the brightest minds in the game in coach Stan Van Gundy. Stan Van is also the team's president of basketball operations. He has a lot of power with the team and wants things ran his way.

Van Gundy's way? He wants three point shooting and needs his team to drastically improve on the defensive side of the ball.

"We've been a bottom ten defensive team for four straight years, and that's not going to get it done," said Van Gundy. "We've got a lot of habits to build, and it'll be a great challenge tonight. Because, I think, the first thing we have to do to become a good defensive team is to get back, and nobody runs better than these guys do. So, it'll be a tremendous challenge."

Brian Shaw wants his team to run when the opportunities present themselves, but he also wants a balanced attack. The Nuggets will run, but we also get to see how the offense will look in the half-court. We get to see what the Nuggets will do on the defensive end - can they create turnovers without gambling too much? How will the defensive rotations work? How can they stop Andre Drummond's above the rim play?

Key Matchup: Ty Lawson vs. Brandon Jennings

Lawson said today that he's healthy and ready to go. He'll need to be as Jennings is a shift and speedy guard that has weapons around him. I want to see if Lawson is really healthy and how he'll handle this challenge.

The Surgery Crew

Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson, and JaVale McGee are on minute restrictions to start the season. I asked Shaw today how he'd handle Gallo's minutes if he was at 20 minutes (the restriction) and there were five minutes left and a tie game. Shaw said he'd huddle with the training staff and he could push the minutes a little bit if he needs to. That's good news.

Altitude? You call this altitude?

Stan Van was asked about Denver's altitude and had this to say in response:

"The altitude ... come on look, I took exercise physiology in college and I just told these guys: don't get caught up in the myth, it's b.s.. There's not enough of an altitude to make a difference here. They've done a great job in all the sports in Denver perpetrating that for years and it's worked. It has gotten in players minds. Years ago when I was in college, we went on a South American trip and I played at 10,000 feet in Lima and 15,000 feet in Lapie. So, there you feel it, this is, come on, come out and play the game ... the altitude."