Matchup: New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks
Date/Time: April 3rd, 2013 7:00 PM ET
Television: MLB Network
Moneyline: Hawks -3.5
The New York Knicks have won nine straight games. They’ll be looking to make it ten straight in Atlanta on Wednesday night. The Hawks are battling for positioning in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Atlanta is 24-13 at home this year, so it won’t be easy going for the Knicks in this one. Let’s take a closer look at this key matchup.
Carmelo Anthony scored 50 points to lead the Knicks past the short-handed Miami Heat last night. The Heat had a sizable halftime lead, but it was Anthony and the Knicks who dominated the second half en route to a comfortable 102-90 win. A win over the Heat isn’t quite the same when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade don’t play, but it was still big for the Knicks. New York looked doomed to fall out of first place a couple weeks ago, but now they are red hot. The Knicks are pulling away from Brooklyn in the Atlantic Division, and they are tied with the Pacers for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
Carmelo Anthony is playing his best basketball of the year of late. Anthony is healthy once again, and he is showing it with his huge scoring outputs. J.R. Smith was named Player of the Week in the Eastern Conference last week. Smith averaged 29.8 points per game last week, which was second in the NBA. When the Knicks get that kind of contribution from Smith, they are really tough to beat. Kenyon Martin has given the Knicks a nice defensive presence down low, and that has really shored up the team’s halfcourt defense of late.
Atlanta has been a tough team to figure out this year. The Atlanta Hawks have a lot of talent, but they aren’t very consistent. Still, the Hawks are just one game behind Brooklyn for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. That fourth spot is definitely important since it gives a team home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Zaza Pachulia and Lou Williams are both out for the year with season-ending injuries, and John Jenkins is questionable for this game with a concussion. Al Horford’s strong play has led this team of late. Horford has scored more than 20 points in four of his last eight games. He has a double double in six of his last nine contests.
Atlanta is at their best when Horford and Josh Smith are doing their work down low. Kyle Korver gives the team a sharpshooter who spreads the floor, and Jeff Teague is an up and coming point guard. Atlanta has surprisingly struggled on the glass all year. The Hawks have lost a lot of games because opponents are getting too many second chance opportunities. They’ll have to fix that if they are going to go anywhere in the playoffs.
Free Pick: Knicks +3.5
The Hawks are a good team at home, but when the Knicks are hot they are really tough to beat. I’m not sure the Knicks win this game, but I do like grabbing the points.
Hawks 99 Knicks 98
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!