Detroit Pistons vs New York Knicks

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Detroit and New York will play their final game before the All-Star break when they square off on Thursday night. The Pistons snapped a three-game losing skid with a win at Toronto on Wednesday, but they are still in dead last in the Eastern Conference. New York has been a pleasant surprise this season, entering this game in fifth place in the standings.

Pistons looking for consecutive wins for second time

Detroit has been in the cellar of the Eastern Conference ever since starting the year with a 1-7 record. It has only strung together consecutive wins once—when it beat Boston and New Orleans in early February. The Pistons went on to lose six of their next seven games before winning at Toronto on Wednesday night. That game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but it had to be pushed back by one day. Now, they will have to play back-to-back road games before the All-Star break. Detroit hosted the Knicks last Sunday, losing in a 109-90 final. The Pistons rank No. 23 in the NBA in scoring offense, averaging 108.1 points per game.

They are facing a New York defense that has been one of the biggest surprises in the league. The Knicks are currently leading the NBA in team defense, giving up just 104.4 points per game. Small forward Jerami Grant leads Detroit with 23.4 points and 5.3 rebounds. He missed Wednesday’s game against Toronto with a quad injury and is listed as ‘questionable’ for this one. Shooting guard Josh Jackson is the team’s second-leading scorer with 13.5 points per game. He missed Wednesday’s contest due to an illness and is also ‘questionable’ for Thursday’s bout. Power forward Blake Griffin has been out since early February due to the possibility of a trade.

Knicks lead NBA in defense

New York has been one of the best teams in the league since mid-February. The Knicks have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games, catapulting them to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are only a half-game behind Boston for fourth place, but they are also leading Miami, Charlotte and Toronto by a half-game. Teams have been taking advantage of Detroit on their schedule throughout the season—New York will be hoping to do the same on Thursday before going into the All-Star break. The Knicks had a three-game winning streak snapped in a blowout loss at San Antonio on Tuesday.

Their defense has the best numbers in the league, but their offense is tied for dead last, only scoring 104.6 points per game. Detroit is much better on the defensive end than the offensive end, allowing 111.8 points per game (No. 14). Power forward Julius Randle leads the Knicks with 23.1 points and 10.9 rebounds. He is also dishing out 5.5 assists. Randle scored 25 points and notched five assists in the easy win over the Pistons on Sunday. Shooting guard RJ Barrett is averaging 16.4 points and 6.0 rebounds. He also had a nice game against Detroit, scoring 21 points on 61.5 percent shooting. Immanuel Quickley is adding 12.6 points off the bench. He poured in 26 points in Tuesday’s loss.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

This pick feels way too easy. New York is playing its best basketball of the season, while Detroit is dealing with injuries, illnesses and trade rumors surrounding its best players. The Pistons were blown out by this same team on Sunday at home. Now, they have to go on the road and are in a worse position from a personnel standpoint. New York does not have the most talent in the league, but its players might play the hardest, which is evidenced by its top-ranked defense. The Knicks have covered in five of their last six home games and will be looking to put a bow on what has been a successful first half of the season.

Prediction:
New York -5.5

Want another opinion on this pick?

Visit WinnersAndWhiners.com

Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

As with the spread, this is also a simple prediction. New York is not in fifth place in the Eastern Conference due to strong offensive play. In fact, the Knicks are tied for the worst offense in the league. They have been getting the job done on the other end of the court, where they have the top-ranked defense. Detroit is built the same way, playing much better defense than offense so far this season. The issues with the Pistons top players make this an even better pick. Four of the last five head-to-head meetings between these teams have gone under the total.

Prediction:
Under 210.5