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Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks

LeBron James and the Miami Heat will be looking to stay hot when they welcome the New York Knicks to town. The Heat are -11 point favorites over the Knicks with an over/under point total set at 194.
The Knicks have lost nine of their last 11 games and will be hoping to avoid a fourth straight loss after falling to the Mavericks by 110-108 on Monday. Carmelo Anthony carried the Knicks with seven three pointers on his way to a game-high 44 points, but all his hard work came undone in the last second of the game when Dirk Nowitzki drained the game-winning buzzer beater to send the Knicks to 21-36 on the season and 12-19 at home. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse shortly after the game as Raymond Felton was arrested on felony gun charges which means he could possibly face some time in prison, but for now, he is expected to suit up for tonight’s game.
On the other hand, the Heat have won 11 of their last 13 games and will be looking to build on a five-game win streak after cruising past the Bulls by 93-79 on Sunday despite LeBron James sitting out the game with a broken nose. Chris Bosh led the scoring with four three pointers on his way to 28 points while Dwyane Wade stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Interestingly, Greg Oden replaced James in the starting lineup for his first NBA start since December 2009 but played just 13 minutes as he continues to work himself into shape. With the win, Miami improved to 40-14 on the season, just two games behind Indiana for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
In ATS trends, the Knicks are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against a team with a winning record and 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games, while the Heat are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games overall and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games.
Head to head, the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the Under is 13-4-1 in the last 18 meetings.
I think the Knicks keep it close and cover the spread but do not win.

Pick
Miami Heat -11 New York Knicks

New York Knicks vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks will play their second and final meeting this season. They played one another in early January, and the Knicks won 92-80. The Mavericks are -2 point favorites over the Knicks with an over/under point total set at 206.
The Mavericks continue to roll, winning two in a row and eight of their last 10 games. They’ve scored more than 100 points in 11 of their last 13 games and are averaging 45.6 rebounds in their last five contests. That’s a solid five rebound per game improvement from their season average. On the road they average 101.7 points and allow 101.3 points. They are 32-25 ATS overall and 20-10 ATS on the road.
The Knicks continue to freefall, losing five of their last six games and putting themselves in serious danger of missing the playoffs. During this stretch, they’re averaging 102.2 points on 44.6 percent shooting and allowing 106.2 points on 47.3 percent shooting. They led the Atlanta Hawks by 17 points mid-way through the third quarter and still lost by nine. I guess the good news is they’re returning home from a four-game road trip. At the Garden, they average 98.5 points and allow 100 points. The Knicks are 23-33 ATS overall and 10-20 ATS on their home court.
I really want to go with the Knicks on this one considering they’re at home and need this win in the worst way. However, it’s impossible to back them with the way they’ve been playing all season. Right when it looks like they’re going to turn things around, they get even sloppier with their play.
Dallas is one of the hotter teams in the league and is 40-15 ATS in its last 55 road games. It’s also 8-3 ATS in its last 11 meetings taking place in New York.
The points look good, but until New York plays with some type of consistency, the smarter play is Dallas.

Pick
Dallas Mavericks -2 New York Knicks

New York Knicks vs. Denver Nuggets

The New York Knicks hope to turn things around with a visit from the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. The Knicks are -1.5 point favorites over the Nuggets with an over/under point total set at 209.
Head to head, the Nuggets are 2-7 ATS in the last 9 meetings and the favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Knicks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record, but just 9-19 ATS in their last 28 games and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games overall. The Nuggets on the other hand are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
Just when it looked like New York was finally starting to turn the corner after winning four straight games to close out January, three of which coming in blowout fashion, they now find themselves losers of three straight and immediately on the back foot again. While two of their losses came against Miami and Portland, two of the top teams in the NBA, the other defeat came at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, who own the league’s worst record and are still yet to reach double figures in the win column. The Knicks are still very much in the playoff hunt thanks a disastrously weak Eastern Conference, but they still have a lot of work to do because the last thing they want is to end up with the eighth or seventh seed and have to face either the Heat or Pacers in the first round.
The Denver Nuggets also find themselves out of the top eight in their respective conference, even though they are above .500, unlike New York. To put things into perspective, the Nuggets would be the fifth best team if they were in the East and probably even better because they would be playing the likes of Milwaukee, Orlando and Philly and not Phoenix, Golden State and Minnesota etc. Denver comes into tonight’s contest in relatively good form having won four of six, however, five of those games were played on their home court.
This game could go either way, but I’m giving the slight edge to the Knicks in this one. They are at home after all and you would have to think that the desperation levels are really starting to increase after their recent three-game losing streak. New York played pretty well against Portland and I think Carmelo will propel his team to a victory over his former squad.

Pick
New York Knicks -1.5 Denver Nuggets

New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks play host to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday from Madison Square Garden. The Spurs are -2.5 point favorites over the Knicks.
Head to head, the Spurs are 1-3-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in New York while the home team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings and the underdog is 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Knicks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Western Conference, but just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win. The Spurs on the other hand are 36-15-2 ATS in their last 53 vs. Eastern Conference and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Although Tyson Chandler’s absence is a big blow to the New York Knicks, they will get a boost tonight from the return of J.R Smith who was suspended for the first five games of the season for violating the league’s anti-drug program. His return should help a Knicks squad that hasn’t started the season all that well, dropping three of their first five games, although they are coming off a win on Friday night as they defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 101-91 away from home. Without their second-leading scorer in Smith, New York has struggled on the offensive end as they are averaging just 93.8 points per game, but they are also allowing just 93.4 per game, which ranks in the top five in the league.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs have started the season winning five of a possible six games after their hard-fought 76-74 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. In what was one of the lowest scoring games of the season, it was Tony Parker who came through in the clutch scoring the last seven points for the Spurs as they held off a late rally from the Warriors. Parker finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-14 shooting while Kawhi Leonard was the only other Spurs player to finish in double figures with 13 points on 6-8 field goals.
Having Smith back certainly helps the Knicks and if Andrea Bargnani can play like he did against Charlotte (25 points, eight rebounds and five blocks) then New York is a red hot chance in this one. Having said that, their two wins this season have come against Milwaukee and Charlotte, two bottom feeders. With Chandler out, I could see Duncan having a big one here and Parker should be able to get into the lane wherever he pleases. I could see the Knicks winning this outright, but I just know what I’m getting from the Spurs, as opposed to New York.

Pick
San Antonio Spurs -2.5 New York Knicks

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls take on Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks from the United Center on TNT Thursday. The Bulls are -8 point favorites over the Knicks with an over/under point total set at 190.
Head to head, the Knicks are 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings and 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Chicago while the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Derrick Rose made his much anticipated return to the hardwood on Tuesday night, however, his Bulls couldn’t get past Lebron James the reigning champion Miami Heat as they kicked off the new NBA season. Rose, who was coming off an 18-month layoff, scored the first two points of the game, but he would struggle for the rest of the way as he shot 4-15 and added five turnovers in the 107-95 defeat. One player that didn’t look rusty was Carlos Boozer as led all scorers with 31 points for a Bulls team that was outscored 38-17 in the second quarter, which ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
The New York Knicks are one of the harder teams to figure out coming into this new season. While they return the core of what was a 55 win team last season, one that made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000, it remains to be seen how things will unfold in for them in 2013-14. It’s no secret that New York caught some fortunate breaks last season and while they acquired veterans such as Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace in the summer, they just add to what was already an aging roster. Then there is the whole Amare Stoudamire situation, which I’m not even going to get into. It’s conceivable that the Knicks could replicate what they did last season, but I just don’t see it with the improvement of teams such as the Pacers, Nets and tonight’s opponents in the Bulls, just to name a few.
Chicago has covered against New York In their last five meetings, but none of those wins were larger than tonight’s spread of eight points. Instead, I’ll be taking the over in this game. The last three times these two met last season, the average total in those game was a whopping 218 points, granted the last meeting went into overtime. I don’t think we see anything around the 218 mark again tonight, but 190 looks very achievable.

Pick
Over 190

New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics

The New York Knicks return home looking to close out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 from Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are -8 point favorites over the Celtics with an over/under point total set at 180.
Head to head, the Celtics are 19-9 ATS in the last 28 meetings in New York and 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings while the road team is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings. The Knicks are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400, 47-22 ATS in their last 69 home games and 22-8 ATS in their last 30 games overall. The Celtics on the other hand are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. win and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.
It’s pretty safe to say that If J.R. Smith wasn’t out for Game 4, this series would be over already. Smith was suspended one game for elbowing Jason Terry in the chin late in Game 3 which resulted in the Knicks being without their No. 2 scorer in their 97-90 overtime loss in Game 4 for on Sunday. Without Smith, New York struggled on the offensive end, shooting just 34% from the field, which included going 7-30 from beyond the arc. Even with their struggles, the Knicks managed to force overtime thanks to a big second half comeback led by Carmelo Anthony’s 36 points, but it wasn’t enough to get them the series sweep they were after.
This is indeed another elimination game for the Boston Celtics tonight, but it’s just as important to the Knicks, who don’t want to head back to Boston for a Game 6. Carmelo Anthony said as much “We want to end it. We came this far, did our job at home first two games, did our job on the road, got one on the road. We’ve got the opportunity to end it here on our home court.”
At the end of the day, the Celtics just can’t score enough points without Rajon Rondo as they have finished with 78 points or less in three of their four games in this series. Not only that, in each of their four games, they have played a half where they have scored under 30 points. New York has dominated this series from the get-go and I like them to finish things tonight.

Pick
New York Knicks -8 Boston Celtics

New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks look to make it two straight against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 from Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The Knicks are -6.5 point favorites over the Celtics with an over/under point total set at 185.
Head to head, the Celtics are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings in New York while the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Knicks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400, 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games overall but just 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Conference Quarterfinals games. The Celtics on the other hand are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 2 days rest, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600 and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss.
Thanks to 36 points from Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks pulled away late on Saturday to record an 85-78 victory over the Boston Celtics in their playoff opener. The league’s leading scorer had 10 of New York’s first 12 points of the game, however, he struggled from there on out before scoring eight pivotal fourth quarter points as the Knicks outscored the visitors 18-8 in the final term. Jeff Green led the way for Boston with 26 points while Paul Pierce added 21 for a Celtics team that committed 21 turnovers, which led to 20 points for the home team. Boston committed eight of those turnovers in the fourth quarter where they shot just 3-11 from the field.
I like the Celtics here for a couple of reasons. When you look back at Game 1, Boston actually led heading into the fourth quarter until they gave the ball away just about every possession. The Knicks were feisty on defense, but I don’t think we are going to see another 20 turnovers for the guys in Green tonight. While getting 26 points from Jeff Green was definitely a bonus, the bench trio of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jordan Crawford combined for just four points, which obviously needs to change if the Celtics plan on taking this game.
I expect New York to play better than they did in Game 1, but I just think the Knicks bounce back and make a real game of this. New York probably wins, but this one is going down to the wire.

Pick
Boston Celtics +6.5 New York Knicks

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers

The red hot New York Knicks host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday from Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are -4.5 point favorites over the Pacers with an over/under point total set at 192.
Head to head, the Pacers are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings and 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings in New York while the underdog is 12-5 ATS in the last 17 meetings. The Knicks are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record, 44-21 ATS in their last 65 home games and 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games overall. The Pacers on the other hand are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. Eastern Conference and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
There’s no hotter team than the New York Knicks at the moment. Despite injuries to virtually their entire front court, the Knicks have won 14 of their last 15 games and as a result can clinch the second seed in the East with a win over the Indiana Pacers today. Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith have been the catalysts for New York’s surge, which saw them win 13 straight games as the pair had combined to average 57.2 points over the last 15 games.
Unlike New York, the Pacers haven’t been playing their best basketball lately, losers of three of their last four. It’s been a strange turnaround for an Indiana team they just recently returned from a four-game Western road trip which saw them sweep all four games against the likes of Houston, Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers. Yet, the Pacers have looked like a completely different team this past week and a bit, getting blown out by Oklahoma City and Washington, while needing a 35-10 final quarter to get over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.
There’s no doubting the Knicks are the hotter team in this one, but I don’t think that’s enough to take them here for a couple of reasons. For one, the Pacers have won three of the last four meetings, granted they were all at home, and let’s not forget that New York is missing their entire front court. Now that hasn’t mattered in previous games, but Indiana has plenty of size down low, which could pose a problem. If New York is hitting from downtown then this one could get ugly, but I see Indiana showing up for this one, just like they did on their recent road trip.

Pick
Indiana Pacers +4.5 New York Knicks

New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks invade Chicago on Thursday going for their 14th straight win. The Knicks are -3.5 point favorites over the Bulls with an over/under point total set at 190.
Head to head, the Knicks are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings while the underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, but just 12-27 ATS in their last 39 home games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Knicks on the other hand are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 7-0 ATS in their last 7 road games and 17-4 ATS in their last 21 games overall
Before we get to New York, lets touch on Chicago’s ineptitude to cover the spread at home this season. With the Bulls recent loss to Toronto on Tuesday and their close encounters with Orlando and Detroit, they are now just an abysmal 12-27 against the spread at the United Center this season, which is easily the worst mark in the league. Admittedly, Chicago has been hit hard by injuries lately, but they have struggled to cover the spread all season long when it comes to playing in front of their home crowd for whatever reason.
The Knicks come into tonight’s game winners of 13 straight games and they have the hottest player in the league in Carmelo Anthony, who recently went past Kevin Durant as the leagues leading scorer. What’s more impressive than New York’s recent win streak has to be their against the spread stats, which are just off the charts. The Knicks are a perfect 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games and they have covered in 17 of their last 21 games just to name a few.
I’m really quite shocked there is a line out for this game considering all of the players that are questionable for tonight’s game. While Joakim Noah has been ruled out, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson status’s are still up in the air. For New York, they virtually have every front court player missing, headlined by Tyson Chandler who is dealing with a bulging disc in his neck.
I just can’t take Chicago here given how bad they have been at covering the number at home this season. While New York is really thin up front, that didn’t matter when they torched the Wizards on Tuesday for 120 points, which included a whopping 20 made three-pointers. The Bulls have it in them and this almost seems to easy, but I ain’t betting against Carmelo Anthony right now.

Pick
New York Knicks -3.5 Chicago Bulls

New York Knicks vs. Charlotte Bobcats

The New York Knicks go for their seventh straight win on Friday night as they host the improving Charlotte Bobcats from Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are -13.5 point favorites over the Bobcats with an over/under point total set at 199.
Head to head, the Bobcats are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in New York while the road team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings and the underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings. The Knicks are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400, 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. Eastern Conference and 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Bobcats on the other hand are 6-22-1 ATS in their last 29 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600, 5-17 ATS in their last 22 games following a S.U. win and 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 road games.
With Miami and Denver’s massive winning streaks coming to an end this week, the New York Knicks suddenly find themselves as the new owners of the NBA’s longest winning streak at six games following their 108-101 win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. The Knicks have been crushing teams during their streak with an average winning margin of 12 points per game and they actually led the Grizzlies by as many as 30 points at one stage before the letting them come back in the fourth quarter. The Charlotte Bobcats come into tonight’s match in some decent form, having won four of eight after defeating the Orlando Magic at home on Wednesday despite trailing by 19 points at quarter time.
As I just touched on, the Bobcats have won four of eight, but all of those wins have come at home. Charlotte has been just horrible on the road this season and come into tonight’s game having dropped eight straight away from home by an average of 23.3 points per game. Just to put it into perspective how bad they have been on the road recently, each of their eight losses have come by 14 points or greater and that includes losses in Toronto, Washington and Sacramento.
Given how hot the Knicks are at the moment and the fact that the Bobcats can’t get within 15 points of anyone away from home, this is a no-brainer pick, it’s that simple.

Pick
New York Knicks -13.5 Charlotte Bobcats

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Bobby C Sports Columnist