San Antonio Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons Preview and Pick

San Antonio Spurs (44-20) +3, 178 at Detroit Pistons (46-18), 8 pm Eastern Friday, NBA TV
by Zman of

Second place in the East meets second place in the West when the Detroit Pistons host the San Antonio Spurs in a possible preview of the NBA finals Friday night in MoTown.

Detroit is listed as a three-point home favorite for Friday’s game, with about as low a total, 178, as you’re going to find on an NBA game. Also, the Pistons are posted at around -150 on various Vegas moneylines, with San Antonio getting +135 as road underdogs.

The Spurs lost at New Orleans Wednesday 100-75, getting outrebounded 45-27 and scoring just eight points in the fourth quarter. San Antonio has lost three of its last four games and its last three on the road, and has been outrebounded its last four games. Still, heading into Friday’s game, the Spurs are tied for first place in the Southwest Division with the streaking Houston Rockets, and are tied for second place in the Western Conference standings, just a half-game behind the first-place Los Angeles Lakers.

On the other side of this match-up, Detroit played miserably in an 83-82 loss to Philadelphia Wednesday as eight-point home chalk, getting outrebounded 39-32 and committing 17 turnovers, six more than their league-low season average. The Pistons still lead the Central Division by 10 games over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers, but have fallen 5 games back of the Boston Celtics in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

In the first meeting this season between these two teams, Detroit won in San Antonio 90-80 back on Jan. 10. But the Spurs swept two games from the Pistons last season, by scores of 90-89 and 90-81. So over the course of the last three games in the series between these two teams, San Antonio is 2-1 straight up but Detroit has covered the spread twice. Also, the o/u is 1-2 in the last three games in this series, which have averaged only 173 total points.

The Spurs have outshot the Pistons from the field in those last three meetings 46% to 44%, and have outrebounded Detroit by a collective 128-113 margin.

This season, San Antonio is 29-35 against the spread, 17-15 straight up but only 12-20 vs. the numbers on the road.

Meanwhile, the Pistons are 34-29 ATS this season, 24-6 SU and 17-13 vs. the numbers at home.

The Spurs rank 7th in the league in point differential at +4.6 per game, and 10th in both FG defense at 45% and rebounding at +1.2 per game. Also, San Antonio is shooting 45% from the floor as a team, 38% from 3-point range and 76% from the free-throw line.

Detroit ranks 2nd in the league in point differential at +7.5 per game, 3rd in FG defense at 44% and 8th in rebounding at +1.5 per game. Also, the Pistons are shooting 46% from the floor, 37% from long range and 76% from the line.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks Detroit 3rd at 96.8, the Spurs 9th at 94.6. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.3.

The o/u is 25-37 in San Antonio games this season, which are averaging 187 total points, while the totals are 30-33 in Pistons games, which are averaging 189 points.

Zman’s Pick: Take San Antonio +3.