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Detroit Pistons at Minnesota Timberwolves 19.01.2007
Coach Flip Saunders takes his current club back to visit the team he helped build and turn around as a franchise. What he has to hope for is that his old team doesn't contribute to him being unemployed by his latest gig, just like what his old squad did to him, which led to him working for his new team. Sound confusing?
Maybe, there is a clearer way to say this. Saunders goes back to Minnesota tonight, where his former team manhandled Detroit for eight consecutive games. In his first trip back to the Twin Cities as coach of the Pistons, they slammed down that losing streak with authority 107-83. With Detroit slumping since just after Christmas maybe this could be a new starting point.
Detroit, like the motor industry has been running on fumes lately, with a 3-8 record sense December 27, covering linemakers numbers just twice. The primary problem had been the loss of Chauncey Billups, who has now returned, the issues unfortunately go deeper for the Pistons. The subtraction of Ben Wallace in the middle was the final piece to the puzzle showing this was no longer going to be a strong defensive team, rather one more interested in scoring with an average defense. That was proven last season and Saunders definitely has his favorites to run his more free flowing concepts thru, which is one of the reasons Wallace left, not enough touches. GM Joe Dumars is credited with making this a sturdy franchise, which he did, recent moves suggest he has lost his magic touch, chasing after washed up Chris Webber and having a bench thinner than 5W20 oil.
Much like the winter itself, Minnesota started the New Year thawing out from El Nino, with 7-1record helping turn around their season. But like a cold northern front blast, the Timberwolves left local fans chilly, losing at home by 17 to helpless Atlanta this past Wednesday. "There was no sense of urgency at all," Coach Don Casey said. "They shot 54 percent; we only got to the free throw line nine times, which is a lack of aggression." With Minnesota having moved up to second place in the Northwest Division, they will need Kevin Garnett and his playmates to get back on the beam immediately. The strength of the T-Wolves is they take good shots, this is why they are 5th in the NBA at 47.2%.
The line movement on this contest has been fast and furious, with Detroit going from a 1.5-point opening underdog to a 1.5-point favorite at Sportsbook.com, with the total relatively stable at 188. Reasons are varied, the Pistons just lost at home to Minnesota this past Monday 94-90 as 3-point home favorites and bettors are presuming quick turnaround revenge. Minnesota fast 2007 start looks somewhat less impressive with four of the wins coming in overtime.
Nonetheless, Minnesota is 14-5 against the spread when playing against a team with a winning record this season and the Pistons have not covered the last six times they played with a single day off. With today's volatility on this contest, the basketball betting Odds page is a super resource on this and the rest of the NBA card.
About the Author: Bob is an experienced sports writer and handicapper who has written for the sports industry for over a decade. He has been a regular contributer to Sports Scene, a sports consultant for television's 33 Made and other major motion pictures.