Two below .500 teams in the East face off Sunday in the Garden. The Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks matchup will be their 3rd of the year, splitting the other two. Knicks open up as the slight favorite at -5.5 (William Hill). Neither of these teams are necessarily closing the year strong, both also below .500 in their last 5 games. These organizations are looking forward to a positive offseason to change their luck.
Pistons Near the Bottom
Detroit is currently fourth in the central, just ahead of Cleveland. Sunday they will be without their leading scorer in Derrick Rose, who also leads the team in assists. He has battled injuries throughout his career, and the Pistons will miss his presence on the court. They have also missed their 2017 first round pick Luke Kennard, who has been out since December.
His knee injury has pushed his return back another week or so. Missing these two is a big reason they are at +5.5 facing a 19–win Knicks team. Brandon Knight is also listed as day-to-day because of knee soreness, but probable to play in this one.
Knicks Frustrations Mounting
Plenty of New York Knicks fans remain unhappy with their talent, and that doesn’t exclude their biggest front row supporter Spike Lee. Many recent games have been filled with negative crowd chants and people being escorted out of the Garden. I don’t think there is such of a thing as home-court-advantage for the Knicks, at least for the rest of this season. However, Julius Randal continues to show up, leading the team in points, rebounds, and assists. He will be one of the players to watch in this one.
The Knicks need him to perform well to get the win. They also have some injury issues with Kenny Wooten, Dennis Smith Jr., and Kadeem Adam all out. Point guard Frank Ntilikina is day-to-day with an ankle injury, but probable to be back for this game.
Pistons Compete at the Garden
There has been too much negative energy surrounding the Knicks lately, and that noise has to rub off on the players. I think this night might be an opening for guys like Christian Wood, Brandon Knight, and Jordan Mcrae of the Pistons to come out and play well. I like taking them at +5.5, or even the +190 money line (William Hill). Neither of these teams have been scoring loads of points so William Hill has the over/under set at 210.5. Even though there’s nothing better than taking the over, I wouldn’t do it for this one. In their last meeting, neither team reached 100 points. I’m also going with the under.