Amar’e put his money where his mouth was last night. After boldly proclaiming that “no one is afraid of the Heat” the All-Star starter went out and back up his words. Stoudamire’s 24 points and eight boards went a long way to securing the 93-88 home win over the visiting Heat.
It was a much more pleasant trip that the last, at least if you are a Knicks fan – the first visit from the Heat resulted in a 22-point win for the visitors. Perhaps Amare’s words were the focus-inducing kick in the pants the suddenly stagnant Knicks needed.
The NBA returns to a fairly full slate for Friday night action, so plenty of good games to choose from tonight.
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Today’s Free NBA Picks
New York Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks -6.5 (Total: 206)
It’s a pretty tough back end to a back-to-back to following up a thrilling win over the Heat with a trip to Atlanta to face the red-hot Hawks. Throw out last week’s bizarre 100-59 loss at home to the Hornets, and the Hawks have won 11 of 12 at home – everyone gets an off-night. The Hawks just REALLY took advantage of theirs…
The Knicks are 4-12 when they score less than 100 points. Atlanta prides themselves on their defense, allowing a stingy 95.2 ppg, but an even more daunting 92.4 in their past 12 home games.
Quite simply, the Knicks are as good as their offense. If Atlanta brings their usual home defensive focus, it is a matchup that bodes well for the Hawks. Add in New York’s tired legs coming off a tough hard-fought win last night over Miami and I like the Hawks tonight laying the 6.5
PICK: Atlanta Hawks -6.5 (-110) @ Bodog.com <- $1000 free for new sign ups
Memphis Grizzlies @ Philadelphia 76’ers -3 (Total: 194.5)
Philadelphia has been playing very well of late, and seems to be asserting themselves, along with Charlotte, as the final two playoff teams in the East. Philadelphia is a very good home team (which, the by deduction after seeing their record you can assume a really BAD road team…) posting a 14-7 mark in Phily this season.
Tonight they get a visit from the mercurial Memphis Grizz, world-beaters one night, fodder for the bottom feeders the next. It’s hard to predict exactly what you are going to get from the Grizzlies on any given night – but here is one trend that has emerged. They bring their road A-game only for “A-opponents;” meaning – Lakers, Heat, etc – good effort. Teams in the middle of the pack, like say, the Sixers? Not so much.
Phily is finally healthy, and to make things even more dicey for the Grizz, troubled swingman OJ Mayo was hit with a ten-game suspension for testing positive for banned substances last night.
Distractions plus an already distractible team on the road? I like Phily’s chances tonight a lot.
PICK: Philadelphia 76’ers -3 @ Bookmaker.com <- $500 FREE