Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons (18-23) travel to the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Monday, January 14 at 9:00 pm, to take on Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz (23-21). The over under is 209.5 and the spread is Utah -8. In the first matchup between these two teams, the Jazz topped the Pistons 110-105. The Pistons came out up 31-13 at the end of the first quarter and Reggie Bullock was outscoring the entire Jazz team as he was on fire behind the arc. However, the Pistons squandered this lead as they have done so frequently as of late. This game went down to the wire and the Pistons went on a late run to almost win this game at the end.
Donovan Mitchell is the de facto point guard due to injuries to Dante Exum, Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto. As a point guard the last five games, Mitchell has averaged over thirty points. This makes the Jazz a completely different team than the one that beat the Pistons earlier this January. The Jazz have won their last three games of their home stand against the Magic, Lakers, and Bulls. Utah is ranked third in opponent’s PPG which shows their defensive prowess, highlighted by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Golbert.
The Pistons snapped their four-game losing streak with a dominant performance by Blake Griffin dropping 44 points in his revenge game vs. the Clippers. Griffin still has hard feelings for the Clippers organization after snubbing a handshake with Clippers owner, Steve Ballmer. There was a tear-jerking tribute video but then it got very serious after a flagrant one foul from Mike Scott. Pistons commentator Greg Kelser pointed out how this team is 2-0 in revenge games, also winning for Dwayne Casey against the Raptors. This raises the question, why can’t the Pistons play at this level every game?
The Jazz are favored to win against the Pistons and probably will. A combination of Donovan Mitchell’s scoring tear and the Jazz’s lock down defense lead me to predict a 105-98 Jazz victory. A key for victory for the Pistons is slowing down Donovan Mitchell and I would hope Bruce Brown will match-up against him and hold him under 30 points. Utah’s starting five should look like Mitchell, Korver, Ingles, Favors, Golbert and Detroit’s as Jackson, Brown, Bullock, Griffin, Drummond.