New York comes into Detroit favored by just one point
The NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone, and both of these teams have a very different looks today compared to Wednesday. The Pistons traded away Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers after the big man was averaging a double-double for the Motor City. On the other side, New York sent their leading scorer, Marcus Morris Sr., to the Clippers for a first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Now both teams are looking to grab their first win following these trade deadline moves.
I am surprised that the Knicks are only favored by a point. New York is riding a three-game win streak and finally has RJ Barrett back after the first round pick missed extended time due to an ankle injury. Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons look like one of the most banged up teams in the NBA. ESPN is currently reporting that the Pistons will be without the services of their leading scorer, Derrick Rose, and former all-star Bake Griffin. On top of that, both Brandon Knight and John Henson are dealing with nagging injuries as well. The Pistons have managed to get by though in recent outings, posting a 2-3 record in their last five games.
Surprisingly enough though, the Knicks are the clear team to beat in this matchup. New York has won three straight and is 5-4 in their last nine games overall. Julius Randle has been a major part of the Knickerbockers’ recent success. The former Kentucky big man is averaging 18.9 points and 10.8 rebounds in his last ten games. Furthermore, the Knicks will likely be more reliant on RJ Barrett to step up his production now that the team has moved on from Marcus Morris Sr. In his first game back since January, the rookie put up 12 points on a night where he shot 50% from the field. He did this against the Orlando Magic, the best defensive team in the NBA this season.
This game will be completely different from the first time these teams faced off against each other back in November. In that one, Andre Drummond led all players with 27 points on a night where he went 12 for 16 from the field (75% shooting). The Pistons blew the doors off the Knicks in that one on their way to a 122-102 victory at home. The key factor in that first matchup was Tony Snell, who went 9 for 9 from the field and recorded 24 points for the Pistons. While this upcoming game will once again be at home for Detroit, I expect an entirely different outcome when all is said and done.
As inexplicable as it is, the Knicks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. They have won three straight games, and two of their victories have come against playoff caliber teams, the Pacers and the Magic. As for the Pistons, they are just 3-7 in their last ten games, which doesn’t fill me with confidence considering they traded away one of their best players two days ago. And as I mentioned before, Detroit will be without Derrick Rose, who is playing at an all-star caliber level when healthy this season. I think the Knickerbockers will have no problem covering the one point spread on their way to a fourth straight victory.