NBA Picks: Take Knicks To Stop Losing Streak vs. Tired Pistons

Jason Lake

Thursday, February 4, 2016 1:18 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 1:18 PM UTC

Close, but no cigar for the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night. They'll try to beat those pesky NBA odds again on Thursday when they host the New York Knicks.

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NBA Pick: Knicks +4.5
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek


Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 3: 19-21-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total


Give the Detroit Pistons credit for trying. They could have folded up their tents Wednesday night after falling 20 points behind the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter. Instead, Detroit rallied to lose 102-95, almost earning the matador cover as 5-point home dogs. This is a good young program that's only going to get better under Stan Van Gundy.

You could say the same for Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks. They haven't been winning much recently, but at 1-6 SU and 3-3 ATS, at least they're meeting market expectations during this slump. The Knicks visit Detroit Thursday night (7:00 p.m. ET) for the first game of TNT's doubleheader; as we go to press, the Pistons are 5.5-point favorites with a total of 204. That's down from –6.5 when the first NBA odds hit the board.


KCP's in the Back
As usual, the guys at FiveThirtyEight have it right. They've projected Detroit (26-24 SU, 26-23-1 ATS) as a 5.5-point fave using their Elo-based system. However, Basketball-Reference prefers the Pistons by a shade over three points on a neutral court, so make it Detroit –7 for their kayfabe spread. Perhaps there's some value in Motown at the current price.

One problem: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12.8 PER, +1.4 BPM) strained his right groin after slipping and falling during the Celtics game. He's due for an MRI on Thursday and very unlikely to suit up against New York. Caldwell-Pope is a quality defender who's slowly but surely improving at the offensive end; Jodie Meeks (14.1 PER, –0.9 BPM last year) has barely played because of a foot injury, so the Pistons don't have any shooting guards left for Thursday's game. They'll have to lean more on rookie swingman Stanley Johnson (9.9 PER, –2.2 BPM) instead.


Spanish Eyes
The Knicks (23-28 SU, 29-22 ATS), on the other hand, are about to welcome point guard Jose Calderon (13.3 PER, +0.6 BPM) back into the lineup. Calderon has missed the last four games with a groin injury of his own – let's hope it's not contagious – but he looks good to go for Thursday. This has been something of a bounce-back year for the 34-year-old veteran; his defense is still substandard at –0.7 DBPM, but that's the best defense he's played since coming to the NBA 10 years ago.

New York is otherwise healthy, so we're going to go against the grain a bit and put the Knicks in our NBA picks. Caldwell-Pope is an underrated part of what makes the Pistons run, and we can say the same for Calderon in the Big Apple. Detroit is 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS this year playing on zero days of rest, by the way. It's not all sunshine and roses in the NBA.

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