So much for the Detroit Pistons and their playoff push. The Pistons have lost six games in a row, and this Tuesday night, they have to visit a Los Angeles Lakers team that’s beaten the NBA odds in four straight.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 9: 46-42-4 ATS, 4-8 Totals
This isn’t the bright future we envisioned for the Detroit Pistons. Despite the addition of point guard Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline, the Pistons have dropped six straight games at 2-4 ATS, falling five games out of a playoff spot in the painfully weak Eastern Conference. There’s still time to turn this thing around, but not much.
It starts this Tuesday night (10:30 p.m. ET) against a team that has no playoff hopes whatsoever. The Los Angeles Lakers are also on a losing streak, extending their misery to five games in Sunday’s 100-93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. However, the Lakers did beat the NBA odds as 7.5-point home dogs – that’s four paydays in a row for the Purple and Gold. Should we keep riding this money train? Monday’s early NBA odds have L.A. getting just two points at home this time.
If you happened to take a flyer on the Pistons (23-39 SU, 29-33 ATS) last week at 66-1 to win the East, we certainly hope you made it a small bet. They’re all the way down to 150-1 as we go to press. It was a long shot to begin with, of course. Still, it’s disappointing to see how Detroit has stumbled since the trade deadline.
Jackson (16.4 PER in Detroit) has played well enough. He might not be as offensively gifted as the injured Brandon Jennings (19.7 PER), but Jackson is a better defender, even if that’s not his forte. Jackson also has a superior rebound rate. You can see why he wanted to escape the Oklahoma City Thunder and the long shadow of Russell Westbrook; at the same time, you can see why the Thunder didn’t want to sign Jackson to a max extension.
But the bigger problem for the Pistons has been with its other deadline acquisition. Tayshaun Prince (10.0 PER in Detroit) was brought back into the fold as part of the 3-way trade that sent Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix to Boston. To bring Prince back to Motown, the Pistons sent Jonas Jerebko (14.5 PER) and little-used Luigi Datome to the Celtics. Not only has Prince been a downgrade from Jerebko, he’s also been starting for Detroit at small forward. Six games, six losses. Phooey.
Paint it Black
Meanwhile, we’ve enjoyed some success putting the Lakers (16-46 SU, 28-30-4 ATS) in our NBA picks. They’ve been losing a little less badly than market expectation, but they’re still losing, which serves our purposes just fine. We got some “good news” on Monday when the Los Angeles Times reported that Nick Young (14.3 PER) could be forced to sit out the remainder of the season with his swollen knee. He’s still considered day-to-day for now.
None of us here at the home office actually wishes harm on Young – we’re sensitive humans first, basketball fans second, and handicappers third. We like watching Swaggy P do this thing. But his defense (minus-4.3 DBPM) is awful, and the Lakers are more likely to cover without him. On the other side of the coin, Robert Sacre (11.1 PER, minus-3.0 OBPM) can’t play offense, so it was refreshing to see Tarik Black (13.6 PER, minus-1.8 OBPM) get the start against Dallas while Sacre was kept nailed to the bench.
It’s always a bit of a crapshoot what lineup head coach Byron Scott will trot out on any given day, and we’d definitely like to see Ed Davis (19.7 PER) get some more minutes. But as long as Young and Ronnie Price (10.2 PER) are on the sidelines, there isn’t too much more damage that Scott can cause.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Lakers