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NBA Eastern Conference opposites meet Friday night in Detroit as the Pistons (12-31) play host to the Brooklyn Nets (30-15). This game is the first game on the NBA card for Friday night with a tipoff scheduled for 7:00pm ET. Brooklyn is currently third in the Eastern Conference standings and Detroit is dead last at 15th.
The Nets have played well against the Eastern Conference foes going (16-10), but the last time out for Brooklyn on Wednesday ended with a loss to the Jazz 118-88. The Pistons also last played on Wednesday losing by only five points to the Pacers but covering the +7.5 point spread.
These teams will meet for the third time this season and Brooklyn defeated the Pistons 100-95 a little less than two weeks ago. The Nets were favored in that matchup by (-11) points at home, and the total for the game closed at 226 points. The Nets will be without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and James Harden is questionable as well.
Nets Without Stars Lose To Jazz By 30
What could have been a preview of a potential NBA Finals matchup turned into a one-game blowout as the Utah Jazz took advantage of a depleted Nets squad Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. James Harden was a late scratch due to a sore neck, and so Harden joined Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the injury list. The Jazz stormed to a 21-point lead in the first quarter and the Nets were never able to make the game competitive.
Over the Nets’ last ten games, they have gone 8-2 though averaging an impressive 114.8 points per game. Brooklyn has shot 48.9% over the last ten games while limiting opponents to 111.5 points per game on 45.4% shooting. Newly signed Net Blake Griffin should get a chance to face his former team Friday night, but Nets Coach Steve Nash has had him sitting the last two games for injury maintenance. I would expect Griffin to play, and perhaps have a big night against his former team.
After sitting out against the Jazz, James Harden’s status is still unknown for tonight’s game as he continues to battle neck soreness. Nash mentioned that his availability will simply depend on how Harden felt Thursday morning and Friday morning. Brooklyn is also missing Kevin Durant, Landry Shamet, and Kyrie Irving who did not make the trip to Utah and will not play in tonight’s game either.
If Harden is unable to go again tonight we should look for a heavy dose of Alize Johnson who averages 15 rebounds per game and 23 points. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot should get some more big minutes with the stars missing tonight and he has scored 14 and 11 points in the last two games. Bruce Brown will likely get 25-30 minutes against the Pistons and he had 10 points and 7 boards against the Jazz Wednesday.
Detroit Trying To Avoid Third Straight Loss
The Detroit Pistons have returned from the All-Star break to play in seven games winning only two of those seven contests. The Pistons lost their first three games since returning from the break to Charlotte, Brooklyn, and San Antonio before knocking off Toronto and Houston. Most recently Detroit has lost two straight games by losing to Chicago last Sunday and Indiana on Wednesday.
The dismal season for the Pistons shows no signs of looking up as they find themselves ranked at the bottom of the East Conference. The Pistons are 3-7 over their last 10 games, but two of those three wins have come over the last four games. The Pistons lost their last game against the Indiana Pacers 111-116 and will attempt to avoid their 8th 3-game or losing streak of the season. Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 29 points against the Pacers, while Saddiq Bey and Wayne Ellington added 16 points.
Grant leads the way for the Detroit Pistons with 23.4 points per game to go with 5.1 rebounds and he has been the one bright spot for the organization this year. Josh Jackson has struggled the last couple of games but he can usually be depended on for double figures in regards to points. Jackson had 14 points against the Pacers on 5 of 11 shooting. Wayne Ellington is averaging 10.7 points per game and so is strong forward Saddiq Bey with both players seeing plenty of minutes lately.
- Pistons are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Pistons are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
- Nets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Friday games.
- Nets are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Pistons surprised the Nets 122-111 in the very first meeting of the season back in February. The Pistons gave them another stiff challenge in Brooklyn on March 13, but the Nets prevailed 100-95. The Nets have won 16 of their last 19 games, but this contest tonight revolves around whether Harden is suiting up or not. The Nets are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games, but 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Nets have performed poorly against the weaker competition this season, and tend to step up their game against the better rosters. With Harden’s status still up in the air, I can’t back the Nets in this spot even with Griffin taking on his former team. I’d pay close attention to the injury status of Harden prior to tipoff or throughout the day. If Harden is a go tonight I’d pay close attention to the movement of the line, and there could be value in taking the Nets depending on the number. As for now, the smarter and wiser play is to take the free points with Detroit and ride the home dog to a victory in this matchup.
Detroit Pistons +5.5
Want another opinion on this pick?
Full-Game Total Pick
The Nets are the NBA’s second-best scoring team averaging 119.4 points per game. Detroit is ranked 24th in points scored per game at 107.2 per tilt. These teams combined for only 195 points two weeks ago and the Nets had both Irving and Harden in that game. In the first game of the season between these teams the score was Detroit 122 and Brooklyn 111, so that game ended at 233 points. The Nets only had 88 points against Utah without their big three, and Harden is questionable for this contest too. If Harden doesn’t play then I am all over this under. But if Harden does play tonight, I’d pay attention to the movement of the line for the game total and make a more educated decision. The Pistons do not have the injuries the Nets have and over their last five games, Detroit has averaged only 105 points per game. This game will look more like an early or late 90’s Eastern Conference battle that has a much slower pace and lower point total with both teams just getting over the century mark. Pay attention to the injury report and Harden’s status, but the under is the wiser investment tonight in this matchup as of Friday morning.