New York Knicks at Miami Heat -7.5 (Total: 202)
The two top teams in the East meet tonight in Miami, and both arrive with very different momentum. The New York Knicks moved to 13-4 (the top overall record in the East and third best in the NBA) with a thrilling buzzer-beating win last night over Charlotte. The Bobcats made a costly turnover late, and the Knicks called a timeout with three seconds on the clock. It was humorous to watch, as Jason Kidd was racing desperately down the court, trying to get a timeout so they could get a quality shot before JR Smith jacked up an off-balance buzzer beater.
So the Knicks diagrammed a play… and the result was a fall-away 22-footer by JR Smith in the corner. It went in, the Knicks won, and ride some momentum into Miami tonight.
But do they also bring some fatigue?? NBA teams tend to play poorly on the second night of back-to-backs, especially against teams the caliber of the Heat.
So, will the Heat bring their A-game tonight? One would think they would be focused and ready for the challenge. Playing top teams tends to bring a resolve and sense of purpose for the occasionally lackadaisical Heat. Add in the fact the Heat a fresh off a humiliating loss to the Washington Wizards, and they should be focused tonight and ready for basketball.
The Knicks have a concern aside from just fatigue, and that’s the left-hand of Carmelo Anthony. Their star forward sliced the middle finger of his left hand diving into the stands last night, requiring five stitches. Both he and Coach D’Antoni have said ‘Melo will play, and it is his non-shooting hand, but could still be a small factor tonight.
They will need all the scoring they can get from Anthony, who has averaged 28.3 points per contest in his last 13 games against the Heat. The Knicks have only beaten the Heat twice in nine tries since Carmelo arrived, despite the great scoring output, though they did trounce the Heat in their only meeting this season.
It is always a dicey proposition wagering on the Heat, because they are want to drop a few stinkbombs now and again (see their recent LOSS to the WIZARDS), yet have the talent and potential to beat anyone on Earth by twenty points when they play their best. I think they will play near their best tonight, and will get up for the emotional nationally televised game. I’d prefer them in the -4.5 to -5 range, but am willing to go as far as laying -7.5 tonight at home.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -7.5