Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts after scoring a 3-point basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Curry hit his 2,974th 3-pointer Tuesday night in the first quarter of the Golden State Warriors' game against the New York Knicks, breaking the record set by Ray Allen. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


Mike Shara

Detroit Pistons (10-32) at Golden State Warriors (31-12)
Tuesday January 18, 7 pm PT
Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
Broadcasters: Bally Sports Detroit and NBC Sports Bay Area

POINT SPREAD: Golden State -16 (DraftKings)
OVER/UNDER: 217.5 (FanDuel)
MONEYLINE: Detroit +750 (Bet MGM)

After there were 12 games played on Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday yesterday, there are only two games on the NBA schedule tonight. Neither the Pistons or Warriors were a part of yesterday’s holiday blast, so rest shouldn’t be an issue for either team. They will both have had about the same amount of time on the west coast by the time tonight’s game happens.

Still among the teams fighting for the best record in the NBA, the Warriors just finished an absolutely brutal four game road swing, playing away games in Milwaukee, Chicago, Memphis and Minnesota – all within six days. They won just one of those four games (a 138-96 obliteration of the Bulls on Friday) and allowed at least 116 points in each of the other three while failing to reach 100 in a couple of them. Superstar and early NBA MVP frontrunner Steph Curry missed Sunday’s game vs. the T-Wolves with a nagging hand injury, but is not on the injured list tonight and should be good to go. Curry has slowed somewhat after his molten hot start to the season, shooting just 34-for-92 in his last five games overall. Detroit may just be exactly the kind of overmatched opponent he needs to get himself untracked again. The Warriors will be without defensive stalwart Draymond Green (back) for the next while but Gary Payton II is listed as probable tonight after missing time with a back injury. Even after the rough week, the Dubs still rate as the best defensive team in the NBA, allowing just 102.8 points per game and have the best net rating in the league as well (+8).


On the other side of the spectrum, Detroit enters the game with one of the worst records in the NBA. However, they are beginning to show some signs of the turnaround Pistons fans have been waiting to see a glimpse of. After a brutal stretch in November and December that saw them lose 14 in a row and 18 of 19, the new Bad Boys have won 5 of their last 9, including a road win in Milwaukee and defeats of good Toronto and Utah teams in the Motor City. After an ankle injury which caused him to miss the entire preseason and a few regular season games, rookie Cade Cunningham has found his way, clearly demonstrating why he was selected with the first overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft by averaging 17.6 points, 5 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game over his last five while shooting around 46% from the field and showing genuine leadership traits.  He and second-year forward Saddiq Bey have shown flashes of being major pieces for when the Pistons are again ready to be a force in the Eastern Conference.  Detroit has been missing key veteran big Jeremi Grant and Kelly Olynyk for weeks now and, though close to returning soon they will both remain on the sidelines for tonight’s game.

Even under the perfect circumstances, it’s hard to envision a scenario where a young Pistons team composed mainly of first and second-year pros walks into Chase Arena and beats an experienced, championship-level team, even if that team is missing their key defensive cog. However, a 16 point spread does seem a bit high to me. The Pistons have been playing better lately and it’s not inconceivable that Golden State come out a bit flat tonight at home against a weak opponent in their first home game after a slog of a road trip. I think Detroit is starting to get to a place where they are young and brash enough to believe they can win (even if they usually can’t) and I suspect they’ll be more jacked up for this game than Steph & co. – at least to start the game. While much more talented than the Pistons, the Warriors aren’t scoring at as high a clip as they did during their glory days. They remain a stellar defensive team and the Pistons are the lowest-scoring team in the Association, so I think the Under is a good bet tonight as well.

Golden State 105, Detroit 94

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