Sunday, April 22nd’s crucial NBA betting battle in the Eastern Conference will pit the New York Knicks against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Knicks finally have their spot locked up in the playoffs, and they know that they are going to likely have to take on the Miami Heat in the first round of the postseason as long as they beat out the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 7 seed. The Sixers are level with 30 losses going into the weekend, and these last few games are going to be crucial. New York got back Amare Stoudemire in the lineup on Friday night, but he was only worth 15 points and three boards to the effort. In the end, the team was beaten by the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the lowly teams in the conference. And now once again, the questions have come up as to whether the Knicks are better without all of their egos and star power on the court at one time or not. Carmelo Anthony had 12 points in the loss, and no one scored more than Steve Novak did off the bench. If these stars can’t get along with one another in this one, there is no shot against a team that is on its way to home court advantage in the second season.
The Hawks are coming off of a big time victory over the Boston Celtics at home on Friday night. It was their third straight victory and their seventh win in nine games, and they are now just two wins (or Boston Celtics losses) away from locking up that coveted home court edge in the first round of the playoffs. If that turns out to be the case, this team won’t have to leave Atlanta for another week and a half, which will probably set up well for a push for a deep run in the second season. Whereas in the past, this team really relied on its starting five and Jamal Crawford off of the bench, this year’s team is a lot more well-rounded and can count on a number of different players to get the job done. Sure, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Kirk Hinrich are all going to be the men that are going to do the bulk of the work, but knowing that Marvin Williams, Tracy McGrady, and Willie Green have the ability to come off the bench and provide big minutes if needed really helps out a lot.
The Final Word: The Knicks just have to be thrilled to know that they are finally safe to get into the postseason. They are probably going to let down their guard in this one once again, and in the end, that is a big time advantage for the hosting Hawks in Hot ‘Lanta.
New York Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks Free Pick: Atlanta Hawks
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.