NBA Pick: Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets – Wednesday, January 29

  • THE MATCHUP: Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets
  • WHEN IS IT: Wednesday, January 29, 7:30 PM ET
  • THE LOCATION: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York City, NY
  • TELEVISION: ESPN, YES, Fox Sports Detroit

For the second game in five days, the Detroit Pistons (17-31) and Brooklyn Nets (19-26) will square off against one another on Wednesday at the Barclays Center in New York City.

With that being said though, things will be quite different this time around, as sadness will be drifting around the arena with the mourning of Kobe Bryant after his tragic death. On Sunday, Bryant would die in a helicopter crash in Southern California, and players are still forcing their way through the emotions, and probably will be for awhile.

In terms of basketball, however, things are positive for the Brooklyn Nets right now, ending a five-game losing streak after achieving a 121-111 win over the Detroit Pistons in overtime, and this mainly thanks to Kyrie Irving’s 45 points. That performance would be the second most points that Irving has scored with the Nets, but it would get overshadowed with it occurring the same night as LeBron James passing Kobe Bryant for third place on the all-time NBA scoring list — he would achieve this in a 108-91 defeat to the 76ers in Philadelphia.

Statistical Comparison: Detroit Pistons vs. Brooklyn Nets

Offensive Production

Points-Per-Game

  • Detroit Pistons: 109.2 PPG
  • Brooklyn Nets: 109.4 PPG

Field Goal Percentage

  • Detroit Pistons: 46.6 FG%
  • Brooklyn Nets: 44.0 FG%

Assists-Per-Game

  • Detroit Pistons: 24.1 APG
  • Brooklyn Nets: 23.6 APG

Defensive Protection

Points Allowed-Per-Game

  • Detroit Pistons: 111.3 PA
  • Brooklyn Nets: 111.9 PA

Blocks-Per-Game

  • Detroit Pistons: 4.8 BLK
  • Brooklyn Nets: 4.6 BLK

Steals-Per-Game

  • Detroit Pistons: 7.7 STL
  • Brooklyn Nets: 6.8 STL

Rebounding

Rebounds-Per-Game

  • Detroit Pistons: 42.3 RPG
  • Brooklyn Nets: 48.2 RPG

Current Stretch

Winning/Losing Streak

  • Detroit Pistons: L3
  • Brooklyn Nets: L1

Last 10 Games

  • Detroit Pistons: 3-7
  • Brooklyn Nets: 3-7

Last Five Games

  • Detroit Pistons: vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (L 115-100), vs. Brooklyn Nets (L 121-111 OT), vs. Memphis Grizzlies (L 125-112), vs. Sacramento Kings (W 127-106), at Washington Wizards (L 106-100)
  • Brooklyn Nets: at New York Knicks (L 110-97), at Detroit Pistons (W 121-111 OT), vs. Los Angeles Lakers (L 128-113), vs. Philadelphia 76ers (L 117-111), vs. Milwaukee Bucks (L 117-97)

Team Leaders

Points

  • Derrick Rose (Detroit Pistons): 18.8 PPG, 49.5 FG%, 86.9 FT%
  • Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets): 21.2 PPG, 41.7 FG%, 77.7 FT%

Rebounds

  • Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons): 15.6 RPG, 11.2 DRPG, 4.5 ORPG
  • Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn Nets): 9.8 RPG, 6.6 DRPG, 3.1 ORPG

Assists

  • Derrick Rose (Detroit Pistons): 6.0 APG, 2.5 TOPG, 26.6 MPG
  • Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets): 6.5 APG, 2.8 TOPG, 31.2 MPG

On Sunday afternoon at the Madison Square Garden about three hours before tipping off against the New York Knicks, Kyrie Irving was doing his pregame shooting workouts when he would find out about Kobe Bryant’s passing. Irving was mentored by Bryant and had a close relationship with him, and was so impacted by his death that he decided to leave the arena and not play in the New York City rivalry game.

“It was an emotional locker room. It was a quiet locker room. No one spoke for whatever, three hours before we tipped off,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson commented. “No one really spoke. Sometimes there are no words and I didn’t have any words to console them.”

Irving’s absence would show itself as well against the Knicks, with the Nets taking a 110-97 defeat. However, it didn’t really matter, with many people wanting the rivalry contest cancelled with it being hard to embrace it under the circumstances. The game would go on though, and it would see Spencer Dinwiddie put up 23 points — a month earlier, he would score 39 points against the Atlanta Hawks, and there would be someone courtside to witness it: Kobe Bryant. Dinwiddie was also personally effected by Kobe’s death, having grown up in Los Angeles.

“I was born in ’93. He was drafted in ’96. Grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He was everything to my generation,” said Dinwiddie. “There’s a whole generation of kids, L.A. kids. That was our childhood.”

As far as whether or not Kyrie Irving will be active on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, there’s no clarity on that, but you can definitely expect more tribute to Kobe Bryant. Like what’s been going on around the league, it’s likely that each team will take a violation to begin the game in order to honor Kobe — one team will grab the 24-second violation to represent his most recent career jersey number, while the other will take the eight-second violation for his number coming into the NBA.

Back to basketball, both teams are coming into this matchup off of lousy play.

Before Saturday’s win, the Brooklyn Nets were riding a five-game losing streak, and in their defense, the streak would be against top-of-the-line opponents. With that being said though, the Nets’ play was pretty dismal before that as well with them recording a 3-13 record in their past 16 games. And it gets even worse: 10 of those defeats would come by double-digits.

For the Detroit Pistons, their losing streak is still intact, currently on a stretch where they’ve lost three consecutive games, and every loss has came in double-digits. It’s been bad for the Pistons ever since they would lose Blake Griffin due to injury back on December 28, going 5-10 since that hit — and it’ll probably get worse from here. After undergoing left knee surgery, it was announced that Griffin will be out for the season, so without his services, things could get really bad for Detroit. Since December 14, the Pistons have put together a lowly 6-16 record.

After Saturday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, the Detroit Pistons would be back at Little Caesars Arena to square off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the struggles would continue in a 115-100 defeat. On defense, the Pistons were horrendous, allowing the Cavs to hit 50% of their shots. In that game, they would also allow 64 points against them in the paint, and they would be losing by as much as 25 points at one point.

“This was not a high compete level,” Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey stated. “Our best defenders were getting blown by.”

Reggie Jackson would lead the scoring for Detroit against the Cavaliers with a total of 16 points, followed by Andre Drummond with 15. And speaking of Drummond, his performance would come after a flashy 20 points, 21 rebounds double-double against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. It’s the fifth consecutive time that Drummond has recorded 20 rebounds against the Nets.

Against Brooklyn, the Pistons were without Derrick Rose, Tony Snell and Luke Kennard. Rose was out with right knee soreness, while Snell would have an illness and Kennard would be listed with knee tendinitis. On Monday, Rose was listed as probable, but would end up not playing — he’s currently on a stretch with 20 points in 12 consecutive contests. The last time that would happen in Detroit would be Jerry Stackhouse doing it in 22 straight games in the 2000-01 campaign.

Injury Report

Detroit Pistons

  • Sekou Doumbouya: Probable (Left Ankle Sprain)
  • Andre Drummond: Questionable (Left Wrist Sprain)

Brooklyn Nets

  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot: Probable (Illness)

As far as Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets, Derrick Rose could be in action for the Detroit Pistons. However, don’t expect Luke Kennard, who will be out for his 19th consecutive game with his knee injury.

So, Who’s Going to Win?

Right away, the Brooklyn Nets have the advantage in this game with a dominant edge in the rebounding department — and it’s not even just in terms of the game against the Nets, but also the entire National Basketball Association. In the NBA this season, the Nets have the second-best average with a tally of 58.3 rebounds-per-game. The reason why it’s such a wide advantage over Detroit though is because of the Pistons’ numbers, they rank 24th in the league on the boards. Taking on Brooklyn, it gets even scarier for Detroit with them possibly losing Andre Drummond and already being without the services of Blake Griffin, and they’re on the road in this contest at that. It could get really bad for the Pistons on Wednesday night.

Spread:

  • Detroit +6.5 (-110)
  • Brooklyn -6.5 (-110)
Money line:

  • Detroit +230
  • Brooklyn -265
Total Points:

  • Over 226.5 (-110)
  • Under 226.5 (-110)

Drummond is both the leading scorer for the Detroit Pistons, as well as their best rebounder and one of the best in the entire NBA. The Pistons could be quite restricted when it comes to second-chance opportunities, and they could also get killed on the scoreboard with all of the put-backs that the Nets could pull off in this contest. Not just that either, but Brooklyn could get a lot of their potency back if Kyrie Irving decides to return tonight. With Irving back, they’ll have elite scoring to go along with their elite rebounding — just a scary combination, especially for an opponent like the Detroit Pistons.

The last time that Kyrie Irving would square off against the Detroit Pistons this season, he would be absolutely lights out with a 45-point performance. Needless to say, the Detroit Pistons have their work cut out for them in this game.

GAME FORECAST
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Brooklyn Nets have a 64.0% chance of winning the game over the Detroit Pistons and their 36.0% figure.

Another thing with Detroit is how much they’ve struggled on the defensive side of the ball, which is liable to create a perfect storm scenario for Irving and his potency. All season long it’s been poor defending for the Pistons, and it doesn’t look like it’s coming to an end in the near future at all. Give me the Brooklyn Nets to win in blowout fashion over the Detroit Pistons. The numbers are just drastically on the side of the Nets, and on top of that, I can visualize Kyrie Irving with an inspirational performance after the death of Kobe Bryant, his mentor and friend. Give me Brooklyn to win big, cover the spread and go ahead and hand me the over in this contest as well.

BETTING PREDICTION: Brooklyn Nets 128, Detroit Pistons 108

My Pick
BROOKLYN NETS -6.5
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Andrew Powell / Author

Andrew Powell has been working with The Sports Geek since November 2018 providing analysis and predictions in both the realms of sports and politics. Studying journalism through the University of Michigan, Powell's experience in sports includes tenures at mainstream newspapers The Williamsport Sun-Gazette and The Lock Haven Express, and he would also be affiliated with FOX Sports Radio 1340 AM in Hopewell, Virginia. In politics, it would include a stint with Mad World News and multiple with the Republican Party. From the Super Bowl to The Kentucky Derby to President Donald Trump's hair, Powell has you covered at The Sports Geek.