Cleveland Cavaliers (-7.5, 204.5 o/u) at Detroit Pistons
What a difference two weeks make in the NBA. This statement has been applicable to both the Cleveland Cavaliers (25-20, 10-11 away) and the Detroit Pistons (17-28, 7-15 home) at various times this season, as both squads have gone from cold to hot and back again.
At the moment, the Cavs are one of the hottest teams in the league, having won six straight. The Pistons, meanwhile, have lost two in a row and are poised to fall into a cold stretch due to injuries.
The Cavs current win-streak has been spurred by a healthy LeBron James; however, the additions of center Timofey Mozgov and guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have also been integral.
The team’s most recent win was a statement game of sorts against Oklahoma City. The Cavs beat the Western Conference power 109-98 at The Q. Naturally, James led the way scoring 34 points.
“There’s such a long road ahead of us, I’m not going to get too ahead of myself personally,” James said. “We’ve played some great basketball as of late.”
James also pointed to the addition of Mozgov, who gives the Cavs a formidable force in the middle and some added grit. Against the Thunder, the seven-footer didn’t back down from the physical play of Kendrick Perkins. In fact, Mozgov drew a technical while barking at Perkins.
“We got his back,” said Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving. “It’s great to have a big guy like that who’s not going to take any nonsense.”
The Cavs had been the favorite for the 2015 NBA Title all year, despite playing under-.500 basketball for most of the season. However, in the most recent iteration of the NBA Title futures, they were displaced by the Golden State Warriors. It remains to be seen whether their current win-streak wins the hearts and minds of the odds-makers.
As for the Pistons, last month the team went on a run after parting ways with the underperforming Josh Smith. However, the momentum stalled after leading scorer Brandon Jennings (15.4 PPG) went down with a season-ending tear in his Achilles tendon last weekend
His replacement, D.J. Augustin, poured in a career-high 35 points against the Toronto Raptors. But the Pistons still wound up falling 114-110.
“We just played no defense,” said Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy. “We couldn’t stop them at all. If you can’t win scoring 110 then you don’t deserve to.”
As for tonight’s game, the Cavaliers have won six straight ATS. But they’re still a woeful 19-26 ATS on the year. Given their current win streak (both SU and ATS), the Cavs’ lines are starting to creep back to the wide margins that got them off to such a rough ATS start to the year. That’s why the home Pistons and the points (+7.5) looks like the better option.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (20090930-6029) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)