The NBA has nine games scheduled to be played on Monday night. Knock on wood, but it has been a smooth start to the season for the NBA. Covid-19 hasn’t disrupted the schedule much, though it’d be surprising if we don’t have a rough week or two at some point. That said, it helps a lot when there aren’t as many players on a basketball team as opposed to football.
The NFL has so many moving parts between the players, coaches, and personnel. It’s a little simpler in the NBA than the NFL. College basketball has had many postponements, but there are so many college teams that’s to be expected. The NBA has been fortunate to avoid multiple positive Covid-19 tests so far.
One of the nine games is in Atlanta at State Farm Arena, the home of the Hawks. The New York Knights, who are looking to turn a corner in 2020, are in Atlanta on Monday night. This is a Knicks team that has gone 17-65 and 21-45 the last two years, so some progress would be welcome for the Knicks. The Knicks go into Atlanta on Monday with a record of 3-3.
They made a baby step in the right direction last season, as they went from dead last in the Eastern Conference to 12th for four spots better. The development of RJ Barrett will dictate how far this Knicks team can go. He has a lot of talent, but will be required to take the next step soon. Julius Randle having a big season would certainly help the Knicks’ cause as well.
Randle is off to a nice start for the Knicks and has helped them look respectable so far in 2020. He has recorded 21.2 points, with 10.5 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game. Those are some insane numbers for Randle, as he’s awfully close from averaging a triple-double. It’s unlikely he can maintain 7.2 assists per game, but the way Randle has been a facilitator and still scoring is something we haven’t seen much from at this rate in the past.
The Hawks are off to a 4-2 start, but failed to move to 5-1 following a 96-91 loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was a big letdown spot for the Hawks after downing the Brooklyn Nets on Friday by a score of 114-96. It’s their biggest win to date, but they forgot to show up versus the lowly Cavaliers. Head below for our free Knicks vs. Hawks pick on January 4, 2021.
NY Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks NBA Betting Odds:
Knicks vs. Hawks Prediction:
RJ Barrett heads into Monday playing well with 17 points and 7 rebounds per game. He’s also chipped in with 3.5 assists per game. If Barrett can close in on 20 points a game, and Julius Randle stays hot, then the Knicks are going to show serious improvement in the standings. Playing in the Eastern Conference certainly helps them as a potential bottom seed in the playoffs.
I think they’re a year off from going to the playoffs, but keep in mind it doesn’t take a lot to reach the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Orlando Magic with a record of 33-40 went to the playoffs as an eighth seed a season ago. Joining the Magic under .500 as a playoff team was the Brooklyn Nets at 35-37.
The Knicks were second-last in the conference last season with 105.8 points a game in the 2019-20 season. Through six games, the Knicks have struggled to consistently score the ball. They are scoring 101.7 points per game, which isn’t going to be nearly enough to compete with the top teams in the NBA. Their defense has been more impressive, but that can only take them so far.
They were taken for 112.3 points against a season ago. With 104.7 points allowed in the early stages of the season, the Knicks go into their seventh game of the year fourth in the league. I find it highly doubtful that they’re going to remain a top-5 defense, though. Their previous three games were against the Cavaliers, Raptors, and Pacers. The Hawks’ offense should be able to make them work a lot harder tonight.
Atlanta is coming off a poor shooting night against the Cavs in a 96-91 loss. It’s the first game of the season that the Hawks have recorded less than 114 points in a contest. Overall, the Hawks are second in the NBA with an average of 120 points scored a game. Expect a lot more out of the Hawks after getting failing to show up versus Cleveland. Randle and Barrett likely keep this game close for three quarters, but look for the Hawks to pull away for a ten-point win.