New York looks to avoid third straight loss as six point favorites at home
Madison Square Garden will be the site for a game between two of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams. The league’s 27th worst team, the New York Knicks, will be facing off against the NBA’s 25th worst team in the Detroit Pistons with both teams looking to end losing streaks. The 19-44 Knickerbockers are hoping to snap their two-game losing streak while the 20-44 Pistons are hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss. Something has got to give tonight, and I think things will be going in the Knicks’ favor when all is said and done.
The Knicks-Pistons season series is currently tied 1-1. Detroit won the first game of this matchup back in November by a final score of 122-102. Andre Drummond led all players in the game with 27 points while also recording 12 rebounds. Also, Tony Snell was perfect in that first matchup as he finished the game 9-9 from the field for 24 points including 6-6 from beyond the arc. The more recent outing between these two teams went the Knicks’ way. New York was able to steal a 95-92 victory in Detroit earlier last month. That was a huge victory for the Knicks because they had lost eight straight games to the Pistons prior to that matchup. You have to go all the way back to March of 2017 to find the Knicks’ last victory against the Pistons before that 95-92 win on February 8th. I have a good feeling that the Knicks will be able to extend their winning streak over the Pistons to two games later tonight.
The Pistons have been spiraling out of control for a number of weeks. The NBA Trade Deadline was on February 6th. Since that day, the Pistons have managed to win just one game in their last 11 match-ups for a 1-10 record overall. The Pistons have only averaged 101.3 points per game during that stretch which is horrendous. For reference, the NBA’s lowest scoring team, the Charlotte Hornets, are averaging 102.2 points per game this season. The defense hasn’t been much better, but it has been serviceable. The Pistons only allow opponents to score 108.7 points per game during this 11 game span. Detroit has managed to play teams close though recently. The average margin of victory during this stretch of bad play has only been 7.8 points for the winning team. Normally, I would give the Pistons a good chance to cover the six point spread in tonight’s game, but this is a rare occasion where everything seems to be leaning in favor of the Knicks.
ESPN is reporting that Detroit will be without their top two active scorers in this game. Derrick Rose (18.1 PPG) has missed time recently due to an ankle injury and is expected to be out in this game against the Knicks. Meanwhile, Luke Kennard (15.8 PPG) is also not expected to play tonight as he is dealing with a hurt knee. On the other side, the Knicks are looking healthy and hungry for a win. Julius Randle is averaging a double-double over his last ten games while rookie RJ Barrett has put up 15.6 PPG in his last ten outings. Elfrid Payton has even managed to step his game up as the former first round draft pick is averaging 12.5 points on 47% shooting in his last eight games. I can’t believe I am saying this, but the firepower the Knicks currently have might just be too much for the Pistons to handle.
Both of these teams are bad, so I do expect this game to be closer than anticipated. After all, the Knicks only beat the Pistons by three points the last time these squads faced off. The Knicks know they are playing better than their recent record indicates as of late, and they are still looking to build momentum after taking down the Houston Rockets at home on Monday. I think the Pistons just barely cover the spread, but the Knicks will still manage to win this game.