The Cavaliers are starting to pick it up and now they'll take on the Pistons in Detroit. Who should we be favoring with our NBA picks?
The Cavaliers are on a roll now and they've subsequently been installed as significant road favorites over Greg Monroe and the Pistons tonight. The NBA odds board shows Cleveland laying 7.5 points at most of the top online sportsbooks.
If you'd like to get in some action on the total, the O/U is listed at 205 as of now, which is a high number considering neither team has been performing all that well offensively. That being said, Cleveland has picked it up in that department lately, so that would be a reason for pause when considering a total pick.
After an immediate surge in performance once Josh Smith left, the Pistons have fallen off a little bit. They've lost two in a row and three of their last four ahead of tonight's home date with Cleveland. Those three defeats came to the Hawks, Bucks and Raptors and all three came on the road.
Detroit has been off since Sunday's 114-100 loss to Toronto. D.J. Augustin filled in for the injured Brandon Jennings and was outstanding, scoring 35 points to go with eight assists and four rebounds, and he was joined by Greg Monroe, who recorded 21 points, 16 rebounds and four assists. Monroe has been lights out for the Pistons in recent weeks and figures to have another nice game against the weak interior defense of the Cavs this evening.
We know how Detroit will try to attack Cleveland: in the paint. The Pistons have a feared duo of Monroe and Andre Drummond, and that tandem has caused a lot of problems for opposing frontcourts. Detroit would be wise to try and establish both of those guys down low if they want a shot of getting a win.
Don't look now but the Cavaliers have won six straight games. They've improved their overall record to 25-20 and have looked dominant during large stretches of this winning streak. Cleveland beat Oklahoma City and Chicago by double figures and also earned a nice road win over the Clippers.
Getting healthy has been key for the Cavs, most importantly with regards to LeBron James. The time off seems to have done him wonders, as he's gone on a tear since returning to the lineup. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love continue to play well and new additions J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov are just trying to find their way. It's going to continue to take time, but it looks like David Blatt is finally getting the most out of his team.
Having the best player in the NBA running the show doesn't hurt, of course. That being said, Cleveland is really going to have to start figuring things out defensively if they want to make a significant challenge come playoff time. The Cavaliers are currently ranked 17th in the NBA in points allowed per game on average.
We're not going to get too cute with this pick.
The Pistons have obviously been a lot better since Josh Smith left town, but we have a hard time seeing them compete with the full strength Cavaliers tonight, especially now that Jennings is out. Augustin is a fine backup and exploded in his start the other day, but the loss of Jennings is still going to hurt. Detroit hasn't even been playing very well either as of late, losing three of four coming into Tuesday.
Put simply, it's tough not to side with the Cavs when they've got so much momentum on their side. We believe they'll record their seventh straight victory and will therefore add them as favorites to our NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5 at 5Dimes