I have a bad feeling about this one. The Knicks may be playing like a .500 team of late, but they’ve dominated the Pistons all season, winning all three of their previous meetings by nearly 17 points per contest. Detroit has had a bit of time to sleep off their 40 point beating at the hands of the Spurs and are playing at home, but New York matches up very well against the Pistons.
I’d suggest that Carmelo Anthony’s health — he’s questionable for tonight’s game with a knee sprain — might create an opening for Detroit to steal one against a superior team but, well, we saw how the Spurs fared sans Tony Parker. That’s not to say that the Knicks aren’t vulnerable. They severely lack consistency outside of Melo, Tyson Chandler, and Amar’e Stoudemire, and it’s not too hard to beat New York when their three point shots aren’t falling. Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and J.R. Smith have all been in slumps — Kidd shot 19.8 percent from the field in February and an embarrassing 16 percent from three, Felton posted a lackluster 41/30/74 line, and Smith has gone 7-29 on threes the last three games — Iman Shumpert has been horrible offensively since returning from injury and James White is playing for some reason.
Still, the Pistons have plenty of their own issues to deal with. They haven’t beaten a team with a winning record in nearly a month — Milwaukee on February 9th — and lack the perimeter defenders to adequately defend the Knicks, especially with the departure of Tayshaun Prince. Detroit’s offense at least has the potential to fare better than the last time they faced New York, when Jose Calderon made his debut, despite not having practiced with the team at all. The unfamiliarity was an issue, as the Pistons were forced to run bare bones sets, which still couldn’t prevent a bevy of unforced errors.
It would be overly pessimistic to insist that Detroit can’t win this game, but the odds certainly are not in their favor. I can’t imagine things being as soul-crushing as they were on Sunday, but another double digit loss seems likely. Until then, think happy thoughts, and maybe watch Victor Oladipo’s video scouting report
. You’ll feel better. Trust me.