The slumping New York Knicks have their work cut out for them in Monday night’s NBA betting action when they take on the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden.
The Jazz are continuing to be one of the surprising teams in the Western Conference this year. They just keep finding ways to compete and win games against some of the best teams on their schedule, and in the end, they are going to be a playoff team with a shot at winning the whole enchilada when it is all said and done. With Josh Howard and Al Jefferson now both fully healthy, Utah becomes all the more dangerous. Jefferson is the top scorer on this team at 18.5 points per game, and he is also a double-double candidate every single night with an average of 9.2 boards per game. Paul Millsap is largely the same type of player, and he is good for 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Howard is behind just a bit in scoring with 9.4 points per game, but he is one of the five players that are supplementing the scoring by Jefferson and Millsap that are averaging between 8.0 and 10.1 points per game.
There are definitely some good signs here for the Knicks. Sure, they are still in search of their 10th win of the season, but they have covered four games in a row and are coming off of a nice win on Saturday against the New Jersey Nets. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has to be considered on a very hot seat, knowing that New York is shooting just 42.6 percent from the field and is averaging a very mediocre 94.9 points per game. He hasn’t gotten the most out of his top stars at times, as the argument could be made that Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler have all underachieved. However, D’Antoni has discovered a potential star in rookie Iman Shumpert, who has taken over for the suddenly seemingly useless Toney Douglas to run the point guard. Perhaps the new star is now Jeremy Lin, another rookie. He came off of the bench and scored a career-high 25 points against the Nets, again making up for lackluster efforts by Melo and Stoudemire to help the Knicks pick up that vital win.
The Final Word: We still aren’t all that sure that the Knicks should be favored in this game. We know that the Jazz have the better team from top to bottom, and though New York is the team that is on a roll right now from an ATS standpoint, the team still isn’t winning all that many games. Take the points and know that you are going to be in good shape with the better team, who has already proven that it can win games anywhere in the league.
Utah Jazz @ New York Knicks Pick: Utah Jazz +4
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.