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Suddenly sort of hot Detroit takes on Toronto while the Sixers face off against the most inconsistent good team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics. NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Friday night.
ANALYSIS

Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors Prediction: Can the Pistons Keep it Close?

Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Friday, January 14, 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for Pistons vs Raptors Odds

Pistons vs. Raptors Line Movement

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Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors Prediction

We start our Friday column with a little love for the worst team in the NBA.

The Detroit Pistons aren’t good. With a record of 9-31, they’re quite bad in fact, sporting the worst net rating in the league and getting outscored by about 10 points per 100 possessions. Their offense is the worst the league has seen since the Process Sixers, and on some nights, they simply don’t have the shooting to keep them in games against most half-decent NBA teams.

But lately, they have been showing signs of life in exactly the area they need. This unabashed tanking outfit has won four of their last seven games. One of those wins came against the equally moribund Magic and another was against the Spurs sans Dejounte Murray, but the other two came in Milwaukee against a fully healthy Bucks squad and the other, just four days ago, was a defeat of the Jazz. Utah was missing Rudy Gobert but otherwise had a representative lineup, and Detroit still put up 126 points – the third highest total the Jazz have given up this season.

The common factor in those two big wins? Hot shooting, and lots of it. The Pistons shot a combined 37-of-80 from deep over those two games, which accounted for their two best showings from long range all season long. The third best such performance was a few weeks earlier, when they hit 18-of-40 from downtown and nearly beat the Heat in Miami.

Unfortunately for Detroit, these sorts of red hot games don’t come very often, and certainly aren’t the new norm. Also sprinkled in their last few weeks are a 46-point loss to the Bulls in which they shot 6-of-35 from three, a 30-point loss to Memphis when they shot 10-of-44, and a 29-point loss to the Hornets featuring a 14-for-42 conversion rate.

Enter the Raptors, who have been the fourth worst team in opponents’ 3-point accuracy, allowing teams to shoot nearly 37 percent from downtown. Toronto has been winning, but they’ve also allowed five of their last nine opponents to shoot at least 42 percent from deep and are giving up an average of 37 threes attempted in that span.

Is it enough to take the points here? The other interesting note about this game is that Toronto has played just three road games since November 26, and have been fattening up on an extremely home-heavy schedule. Detroit is 17-15 against the spread since their first eight games. It’s a little risky given what happens when they can’t make an outside shot, but they’ve earned the right to be taken here.

Pistons vs. Raptors Pick

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Prediction

When: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for 76ers vs Celtics Odds

76ers vs. Celtics Line Movement

For the umpteenth time this season, we ask: have the Boston Celtics righted the ship?

They have won three in a row and five of their last seven, both of which match their best stretches of the season. They’re back to a .500 record, sport a respectable year-long net rating of positive 1.7, and an even better positive 4.5 figure over the last 15 games that ranks 7th in the NBA.

That’s all well and good, but it also masks a lot of the same issues we’ve seen all year – things like a blown 25-point lead to the Knicks and wins against the depleted Pacers and Magic that each required overtime.

It’s enough to cause concerns going into Philadelphia to face a Sixers team that has the best net rating in the NBA over the last eight games at positive 12.4 It’s a streak that has seen Joel Embiid score at least 30 points in every game, all of which were wins until Wednesday’s 11-point loss to the Hornets that was aided by some third quarter foul trouble for Embiid.

Now, the big guy carries on his personal streak against a team he put 41 points on in a five-point win in Boston back in late December. Philly has won seven of their last nine games against the Celtics and are in good shape coming into this one, especially considering that Marcus Smart is in health & safety protocols. Boston’s streak ends at seven. Give the points at home.

76ers vs. Celtics Pick

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Article Author

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NBA

Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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