Let's take a look at some Saturday night NBA action.
Detroit Pistons (16-31) at New York Knicks (23-25)
We start off in New York where the Knicks have been almost perfect under new head coach Mike Woodson
. The Knicks are coming off of their first lost during the Woodson regime, a 96-79 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Jeremy Lin wasn't there to save the day and this was the Knicks lowest scoring output since the second game of the season.
Carmelo Anthony has expressed his inability
to get into an offensive groove while he thought that he was handling his business on the defensive end. Who would've ever thought that defense was Carmelo Anthony's strength? This won't last for long as Anthony is one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA. He's finding it difficult fitting in with his new teammates and doesn't want to "rock the boat' as the fans have booed him in the past for not being a team player.
Amare Stoudemire has been the leader on offense while Linsanity has died down and the rest of the Knicks look to find their places on this team.
Where the Pistons are concerned, they have a lot of young talent in Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight while mixing in some veterans, but this is a team where the talent is young and the old talent is on the decline.
Don't let a 45 point performance by Ben Gordon against the Denver Nuggets fool you. The next game, Gordon came back with just 10 points on 4 of 10 shooting from the field. He was a star with the Chicago Bulls but has been nothing but ordinary with the Pistons.
This is a good matchup for New York as they come back to Madison Square Garden. They were bound to lose eventually and their team depth with the support of the home crowd should get them past the Pistons.
There are no current odds available and I honestly don't understand why other than Rodney Stuckey being listed as questionable. Regardless, wait for the NBA odds
to be posted, Stuckey or no Stuckey, the Knicks will blow out the Pistons in this game.Pick: New YorkAtlanta (28-20) at Washington (11-35)
The Atlanta Hawks visit the lowly Washington Wizards, a team that they've already beaten twice this season. Not only that, the Hawks have won 4 out of their last 5 games and erased a New Jersey Nets lead in their last outing with a 31-15 4th quarter.
One of the main catalysts has been forward Josh Smith. This has been a career season for Smith as he average's 18.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game. If you're a fantasy league player, Josh Smith is one of the most sought after players because he can do it all. The month of March has been kind to Josh Smith as he's elevated his play to 23.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. Currently, Smith is one of the best players in the NBA and the Wizards wont be able to stop him.
Leading scorer Joe Johnson has also been very reliable for a team that ranks 22nd in points in the league
. In his last 5 games, Johnson has averaged 25 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
The Washington Wizards are no better offensively at 23rd in the league in points and will counteract with the duo of guards John Wall and Jordan Crawford. Wall is a major talent but isn't a pure shooter. He makes up for it in other ways with his ability to do just about everything else a basketball player can do. He can rebound at 6 foot 4, is a good passer, and keeps the opposing offense on it's toes with the ability to swipe the ball. This is a super quick player that can run with the Hawks and will be tough to guard.
The Wiz will definitely look for Jordan Crawford for offense as he's averaged 22 points in his last 3 contests.. The Wizards won't get efficiency from their backcourt but productivity is the name of the game and that's what John Wall and Jordan Crawford provide.Note:
Acquisition Nene Hillario had a 22 point, 6 rebound, and 5 assist performance against the Hawks this season. Nene came out like gangbusters in his first game for the Wiz with 22 points and 10 rebounds but tailed off in his second game with 6 points and 5 rebounds. Expect something in the middle from this capable veteran forward.
The Hawks come into this game at just a 3 point favorite and their two stars have been on fire as of late. Atlanta look's good in this spot.Pick: Atlanta -3Toronto (16-32) at Chicago (39-10)
On paper, this look's like a Chicago blowout as the Bulls are a heavy 13 point favorite. Chicage has been without injured superstar guard Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have had to pick up the
All star forward Luol Deng led the Bulls in their last games with 17 points and 10 rebounds but Deng has been far from an all star this season. The "Big 3", Chicago's stars in the middle, have lacked a consistency on a game in, game out basis. Boozer can score 25 one night and the next game he'll come up with 7 points. Joakim Noah can function in many different ways but lacks an offensive game, and as I've stated earlier, Luol Deng has been far from reliable.
Chicago is the better team but 13 points is a lot to be giving up, especially after the spectacular performance that Toronto had last night to break up the New York Knicks winning streak.
Leading scorer Andrea Bargnani is back from injury but his shooting hasn't been the same. Toronto has relied on DeMar DeRozan and DeRozan has come up huge as of late. DeRozan is coming off of a 30 point performance against New York and is averaging 21.6 points per game on 50% shooting in his last game. He's playing the best basketball of his young career. Expect another big performance out of DeRozan and look for the Raptors to cover the large spread.NBA Picks: Toronto +13