Hello, Newmans. The Pistons (24-29) have made a few changes since earlier in the week. Practically the entire league got a bit of a face lift honestly. Tonight they’ll face the Knicks (10-43) who are now losers of 14 consecutive games. Still a far cry from their franchise worst 20 consecutive, achieved way back in the 1984-85 season.
Typically it’s not an easy task to beat a team in back to back games. Somehow the time off between these games, coupled with the trade deadline shenanigans, makes it feel unlike most home-and-home affairs. Detroit is still squarely in the 9th slot in the playoff race. Nevertheless, they traded away one of their steadiest contributors and best shooter in Reggie Bullock. They also moved on from Stanley Johnson, who has been mostly unable to establish any defining NBA skills in his young career.
Detroit will be welcoming in Thon Maker from Milwaukee and Svi Mykhailiuk from the Lakers. The Knicks didn’t make any new trades but did officially release Wesley Matthews, who intends to sign with the Pacers, as well as Enes Kanter, who pretends to have value for a playoff team.
With the Pistons increasingly thin at the small forward spot, my guess is they’ll press Luke Kennard into a larger role even though Dwane Casey probably doesn’t trust him. I also wouldn’t be overly surprised to see our old pal, Langston Galloway get the promotion and the Pistons shifting Bruce Brown up to the small forward. Brown certainly showed the type of assertiveness to level up, he’s just a little shorter than you might want.
When does Jose Calderon get in the game? Same question but Zaza Pachulia this time. The Knicks should do whatever they can to hold serve until they see Jose and Zaza share the floor. Once inserted, just like last game, whoever Jose is guarding is your pick and roll ball handler. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get Mitchell Robinson or Deandre Jordan in there at this particular juncture. In the last game, Robinson just completely took over, bringing his vertical availability to the party. Just attack it voraciously, there’s gold in them there shills.
Oh, and just figure out Blake Griffin. No problem this time, right Noah Vonleh? In fairness, Blake was fantastic and you can’t be mad at Vonleh. I was surprised that Noer seemed completely incapable of checking him though. You’d think otherwise but maybe that’s just the right mix of skills to keep Noah constantly playing catch up.
The Pistons just don’t have enough shooting, and they jettisoned a low usage performer, probably for fear of losing him for nothing. They managed to get under the tax enough to have a spirited interest in Wayne Ellington, but that’s not gonna help them tonight if at all. The Knicks will insert players that won’t take terrible, out of rhythm, off balance shots that they don’t practice. That will give Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier a chance to shoot better than the 3% that Wes Matthews shot. All told it will draw them closer but it won’t be enough of an edge.
Knicks by -6.