Time: 6 PM CT, NBA TV
Spread: OKC -2
Odds c/o Bovada
The Detroit Pistons are hot, and it will host the Oklahoma City Thunder as 2-point underdogs at 6 PM (CT) on NBA TV. The over/under is set high at 220 points, according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes. The Thunder are rather hot in its own right, but OKC has just a 5-4 mark on the road this season.
OKC has won four of its past five. Instrumental in those wins has been the play of “third guard” Dennis Schroder, who is able to fill in rather flawlessly or play alongside Russell Westbrook. Schroder averages 30.3 minutes per game, tallying 16.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game, serving as a third-option after Westbrook and All-Star swingman Paul George. Westbrook has appeared in just seven games this season, and his numbers are down across the board: 24.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game.
?George is averaging 24.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, but he leads the team in steals with 2.53 per game. The Thunder are tough defensive team anchored by underrated center Steven Adams. Adams has become more of an offensive threat this season, averaging nearly 16 points per game, 10.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks/steals in 33 minutes a night. The Thunder rank no. 5 in the league in team defense, allowing 105.5 points per game, while scoring 110.9 itself, good for a differential of +5.4 points.
OKC is also strong on the glass, due to Adams and Westbrook tag-teaming the rebounding effort. It averages 47.1 rebounds per game, No. 7 in the Association. The Thunder have a lot of facets that should make it a tough team to “out” in the playoffs, from its defense to its rebounding to its two top-end stars. And Schroder really seems to be a perfect third guard to its rotation. Billy Donovan can get this team out of the first round this season, with the proper draw and a well-concerted effort from its veteran cast.
The Detroit Pistons have been one of the surprises of the Eastern Conference with its 13-7 mark thus far through the first quarter of the 2018-19 season. Detroit has won five straight games and the play of Blake Griffin has been largely in part the cause for it. The one-time L.A. Clipper is averaging 24.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals/blocks per game. The Pistons also have been getting another monster season from its man in the middle, Andre Drummond.
Drummond leads the Association at 16.4 rebounds per game while adding 18.6 points and 3.25 blocks/steals per night. His defense and rebounding have allowed the Pistons to cover the frequent perimeter defensive blunders, as he is one of the best defensive anchors in the league. Reggie Jackson has been performing well in his role of shoot-first point guard, and Ish Smith is a solid backup behind him. The Pistons seemingly now have the depth it lacked, along with a true No. 1 option in Griffin- there is no reason to suspect this .650 win percentage is an illusion.
Detroit should be able to hang tough in the Eastern Conference, and while Stanley Johnson still has yet to figure things out offensively, his defense has been crucial, often covering the opposition’s best offensive talent. Langston Galloway provides a steady scoring punch off the bench. All the pieces seem to be in place for the Pistons to make a strong run this season, howsoever early it is to call the Motor City crew “true contenders.” While axing Stan Van Gundy seemed questionable, the ascent the Pistons have made since doing so seems to reinforce that SVG was not the proper GM and coach for this team. Griffin seems to flourish regardless, but the production of Jackson and Drummond has been better since Van Gundy parted ways with the Pistons.