Betting odds c/o Bovada
One of these teams needs a ‘W’ to make the postseason; the other needs one just to prove to the city it is a team worth believing in. Brooklyn, which could be rendered the New York Knicks heated rival and red headed step child, is worlds ahead of the Knicks this season. The Nets are 33-40 and hold just a 1/2 game lead over the Boston Celtics for the final spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets are playing like these games mean something, to be sure. The team has won 8 of its past 10 games, while having also won its past four. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has realized the error in having put all his chips in early, but given how wide open the East is, the Nets may surprise both its owner and NBA pundits, who had all but written the squad off before its current tear.
Brooklyn has Mirza Telotovic on the shelf for the season, but all other key rotation players are healthy. Conversely, New York is without Carmelo Anthony for the season, while also playing without Jose Calderon (out for year), Alexy Shved (no time table) and Tim Hardaway, Jr.—though Hardaway is questionable for this contest. It’s hard to say it matters much to the Knicks, which is why the Nets are fully 10-point favorites and a solid bet for bettors to consider covering the double-digit spread.
The Nets had hoped to find a buyer for starting power forward Brook Lopez, but found that teams are less enamored with a big man that can score and refuses (but could) to rebound. The same applies to Joe Johnson. This entire team is about to be jettisoned, but in the mean time is playing too well for fans to care. Thaddeus Young has contributed to the surge to be sure, as one of the better stretch-4s in the league. Since coming to the Nets from Minnesota he has appeared in 19 games (11 starts) while scoring 13.3 points per game and sharpshooting 44 percent from deep.
The problem isn’t talent for the Nets—it’s direction. Other than Young and perhaps Mason Plumlee, there isn’t a plethora of talent for the team to consider keeping around. Deron Williams is chubby, slow and a shadow of the stud he was while playing in Utah with Carlos Boozer. Resultantly, he’s averaging just 12.7 points per game, unable to make the plays he did on both healthy ankles and without a gut. His field goal percentage (38) and three-point percentage (35) both attest to his rapid decline.
Even with the Nets on the cusp of the playoffs this season, the eye has to be turned towards a rebuild of a team that was never all that close to contention, at all. But the Nets have pieces and contracts that prove to be of little interest to other NBA franchises and that is going to be a major crutch. At least its rival tonight, the Knicks, have accrued some draft picks while also shaving major contracts to prepare itself for a free agent push. Carmelo Anthony is placing full trust in Phil Jackson to bring a roster that can contend, as quickly as possible.
Nets are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Nets are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
Knicks are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Knicks are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 Wednesday games.
Knicks are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Head to Head
Under is 16-5 in the last 21 meetings in New York.
Under is 17-8 in the last 25 meetings.