I have a feeling the Detroit Pistons are going to look a lot different next season. The club is moving back downtown to share a new arena with the Red Wings, and owner Tom Gores is going to want to create some buzz for a new set of season-ticket holders. It's now starting to look like Gores made a mistake in giving Stan Van Gundy a five-year, $35 million contract three years ago to serve as coach and president of basketball operations. Guys working those dual roles rarely work. Will Van Gundy survive the Pistons' late-season fade? After a 112-92 win over the Knicks on March 11, Detroit was 33-33 and in total control of its playoff fate. Entering Thursday's home game vs. Brooklyn, the Pistons have one victory since. I don't see them making the playoffs because starting Friday in Milwaukee, the rest of their games are against teams currently in the playoff field. Perhaps Gores doesn't want to eat the rest of Van Gundy's contract but forces him to give up one job. There's going to be significant player turnover, too, because this team simply doesn't fit together.
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Pacers at Raptors ( -7, 206.5)
Toronto had a six-game winning streak snapped as it was upset at home by Charlotte on Wednesday, 110-106. The Raptors were outscored by 12 in the fourth. DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points for Toronto and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 15 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll played after missing two games and had three points in 19 minutes. Indiana lost a second straight Wednesday, 110-97 in Memphis. Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points. For some reason, Indiana has brought back Lance Stephenson and waived Rodney Stuckey to make room for him. Stephenson could debut Friday. Toronto won the first meeting with Indiana 116-91 on March 19 and has taken six straight at home in the series.
Key trends: The Pacers are 4-1 against the spread in the past five meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in six of the past eight.
Early lean: Raptors and over.
Nuggets at Hornets (-1.5, 224.5)
Denver lost a second in a row Tuesday, 122-113 in Portland to fall out of the West's final playoff spot. Jameer Nelson led Denver with 23 points, but Nikola Jokic was outplayed by former teammate Jusuf Nurkic. Or is it Nikola Nurkic was outplayed by Jusuf Jokic? You get my drift. Charlotte surprisingly won in Toronto on Wednesday in the second of a back-to-back, 110-106. Kemba Walker scored 11 of his 19 points in the final 5:03. Marvin Williams had 18 points and 12 rebounds.Charlotte won in Denver 112-102 on March 4. Walker had 27 points.
Key trends: The underdog is 4-0 in the past four meetings. The over is 5-0 in Charlotte's past five overall.
Early lean: Hornets and over.
76ers at Cavaliers (TBA)
Sit-down alert for a few Cavs potentially here as they were in Chicago on Thursday. Philadelphia lost 99-92 at home to Atlanta on Wednesday in the second of a back-to-back. Richaun Holmes led the Sixers with 25 points and Dario Saric had 15.Jahlil Okafor (right knee) and Robert Covington (right knee) sat out.Cleveland has won two close games vs. Philadelphia this season.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 5-0 in Cleveland's past five on Friday.
Early lean: Wait to see if any Cavs rest.
Magic at Celtics (-11, 216)
Orlando appeared to have Wednesday's home game vs. Oklahoma City won but fell 114-106 in overtime. The Magic led by 21 in the second half. Evan Fournier finished with 24 points and Terrence Ross added 23 for the Magic. Boston's four-game winning streak ended in a 103-100 home upset to the Bucks on Wednesday. Marcus Smart managed only a wild air ball as time expired. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 32 points. He became the sixth Celtic ever with 2,000 points in a season. Boston is 2-0 vs. Orlando this year. The Magic have dropped 12 in a row in Beantown.
Key trends: The Magic are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in those.
Early lean: Celtics and over.
Pistons at Bucks (-7, 199)
As mentioned above, Detroit hosted Brooklyn Thursday night - and on a five-game skid. Milwaukee won a second in a row Wednesday, 103-100 in Boston. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points and nine rebounds. Rookie Malcolm Brogdonfinished with 16 points and nine assists. The Bucks might now finish as high as fifth in the East. Milwaukee leads Detroit 2-1 this season. The Bucks have won five of the past seven home meetings.
Key trends: The Pistons are 1-5 ATS in their past six in Milwaukee. The under is 4-1 in the previous five there.
Early lean: Bucks and under.
Mavericks at Grizzlies (TBA)
Dallas' playoff hopes are essentially dead after a 121-118 loss in New Orleans on Wednesday to start a five-game road trip. Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer at the buzzer missed. Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points. Center Salah Mejri got the night off to rest. Memphis stopped a four-game losing streak with a 110-97 home win over Indiana on Wednesday. Marc Gasol sat out again with a left foot strain, but Mike Conley had 36 points and tied his career high with seven 3-pointers. The Mavs and Grizzlies have split two meetings in Dallas this season.
Key trends: The Mavs are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-1 in the previous six in Memphis.
Early lean: Wait on Gasol.
Kings at Pelicans (-9.5, 209)
Sacramento's two-game winning run ended in a 112-82 home blowout to Utah on Wednesday. Ben McLemore tied a season high with 22 points for Sacramento, and Darren Collison had 12. The Kings went 2-for-15 from 3-point range. Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos and Garrett Temple all sat out. New Orleans beat Dallas 121-118 on Wednesday. Anthony Davis had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins added 29 points and 16 rebounds in his return from a two-game absence. Davis now has at least 30 points and 13 rebounds in four straight games, making him the first NBA player to do so since Shaquille O'Neal in April 2000.It's the first meeting between these teams since Sacramento traded Cousins to New Orleans. Prior to the trade, Sacramento won both contests at home this year.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 9-2 in the previous 11 in New Orleans.
Early lean: Kings and over.
Knicks at Heat (TBA)
These teams played Wednesday at Madison Square Garden and Miami won its second game in a row, 105-88.Goran Dragic had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who were eliminated from postseason contention for the fourth straight season. Derrick Rose sat out with a sore left knee. This will be the third time this season the Heat have faced an opponent in consecutive games. New York won in Miami 114-103 on Dec. 6.
Key trends: The Knicks are 2-10 ATS in the past 12 meetings. The over is 7-3 in the past 10 in Miami.
Early lean: I usually don't recommend a team to sweep a home-and-home, but this matters to Heat and not a lick to Knicks - who probably were out on South Beach on Thursday night.
Spurs at Thunder (+2, 207.5)
ESPN game. San Antonio might be emotionally on empty here after blowing an early 22-point lead against Golden State on Wednesday and losing 110-98. Frankly, the Spurs have nothing to play for the rest of the way now. They are going to be the West's No. 2 seed regardless. Bet accordingly. Oklahoma City staged the biggest comeback in franchise history in winning 114-106 in OT in Orlando on Wednesday. The Thunder were down 21 in the second half, but Russell Westbrook tied it on a 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left in regulation. He had 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the highest point total in a triple-double in league history. The Spurs and Thunder have split two meetings this season. OKC has won the past three at home.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 8-3 in the previous 11.
Early lean: Thunder and under.
Wizards at Jazz (TBA)
Washington's four-game winning streak ended in the second of a back-to-back on Wednesday, 133-124 at the Clippers. John Wall scored 41 points and Bradley Beal added 27 for the Wizards, who might have been hungover after winning the franchise's first division title in 38 years the night before. Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas for the franchise single-season 3-point record. Utah won its second in a row Wednesday, 112-82 over the Kings. Gordon Hayward was back after missing a game and had 20 points. George Hill was out with a strained groin. Utah won in Washington 102-92 on Feb. 26 behind 30 points from Hayward and 15 points and 20 rebounds from Rudy Gobert. Utah will be looking for its first season series sweep against the Wizards since 2012-13.
Key trends: The Wizards are 0-5 ATS in their past five after a loss. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Rockets at Warriors (-7, 228.5)
Second ESPN game. Houston was in Portland on Thursday. The Warriors completed arguably their toughest back-to-back of the season at 2-0 after rallying from a 22-point early hole in San Antonio and winning 110-98 Wednesday. Steph Curry had 29 points in his team's ninth straight win. It also essentially wrapped up the West's top seed. Golden State leads Houston 2-1 and just won there 113-108 on Tuesday. So the NBA's two best offenses are done facing each other after this barring a playoff matchup.
Key trends: The Rockets are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-1 in the previous six.
Early lean: Warriors and under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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