New York Knicks
(18-12, 20-9-1 ATS)
(23-9, 16-16 ATS)
In the offseason, the chase was on to land LeBron James. The New York Knicks thought that they had a great chance to land “King James” via free agency, but instead, the Miami Heat swooped in and snared him. Now, these two teams will lock horns in South Beach in one of the premier NBA betting affairs of Tuesday night.
A three game losing streak, which included a loss to the Heat up at Madison Square Garden, has gone by the boards thanks to two very impressive wins at home over the last two games. This is a treacherous trip to the Sunshine State, as it always is, as the Orlando Magic are up next in just two nights after this one is finished in Miami. New York still has the best scoring team in the game at just under 108 points per night, a number which the Knicks know that they have to at least approach in order to stand a chance of putting the Heat on ice. Raymond Felton has been on fire of late, averaging 12.3 assists per game in this stretch of six straight games with at least double digits in helpers. He has now averaged 18.3 points and 9.1 assists per game. He is also the team leader in steals with 60. Meanwhile, we have to continue talking about Amare Stoudemire in the post. He is averaging 26.2 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game this year, and he has only had eight games in the entire campaign in which he has scored fewer than 20 points. The last one of those was back on November 23rd.
Miami was out on the West Coast for the holidays, and my, did it shine! The Heat absolutely beat down the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending champs, 96-80, and in the process, they absolutely declared that they are the team to beat this season. Don’t think for one second that this team isn’t beatable, though. There aren’t enough point scorers to keep up with the Knicks if the Miami defense doesn’t play well. Of course, this is a team that hasn’t given up 100+ points in a game since November 27th, a stretch of 15 straight games, and you have to go back to November 24th to find the last loss against a team not named the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat obviously have their three stars, and Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and the aforementioned James do it better than any other threesome in the NBA, but without this ‘D’, which ranks No. 1 in the league in scoring, field goal percentage, and three point field goal percentage, none of it would matter. The trio was absolutely out of this world against the Knicks at the Garden two weeks ago, combining to score 84 points, nearly outscoring the entire New York team. James had a triple double with 32 points, 11 boards, and 10 assists.
Miami is beatable, and we tend to think that we’ll see it in this one. The Knicks are every bit as good as advertised, and getting nearly double digits in this game seems a bit absurd. Stoudemire is going to be a man child on the inside once again, and if New York can get a better game than the 3-for-12 shooting that it got out of Felton the first time around, it can win this one outright. We’ll be happy to see it stick within eight to beat the NBA odds.
NBA Free Pick: New York Knicks +9