The NBA has eight games scheduled on Monday. We had a game postponed yesterday because of Covid-19. The NBA has been able to largely avoid this situation so far, but the inevitable happened on Sunday. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics matchup was postponed after contract tracing concerns on the Heat.
It’s better they do it the right way instead of forcing a game and potentially causing a widespread outbreak. As we saw in Major League Baseball, there is a chain reaction when one team spreads it to a second team. The NFL only plays one a game a week, so in that sense an advantage. A whole team off the grid in the NBA for two weeks is a lot of missed games.
The New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets are expected to play as scheduled on Monday night at the Spectrum Center. These are two teams that haven’t had much traction in recent memory, but believe that the worst is behind them now. Led by a cast of young talent, the Knicks and Hornets are going in the right direction in the Eastern Conference.
Fortunately, they get to avoid the Western Conference, where neither would have a good chance of sneaking into the playoffs. However, over in the east, I think there’s going to be an opening for either the Knicks or Hornets to find a way in. The Hornets are a step ahead in that regard, but the Knicks might not be that far behind, as ridiculous as that may sound.
We’re talking about a conference that sent a 33-40 team to the postseason a season ago. There were two teams with a record below the .500 mark, so it’s not like the Hornets and Knicks have to be special or anything to finish eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets were just two spots from going to the playoffs last year at 23-42. Meanwhile, the Knicks showed improvement after a dreadful 2018-19 campaign which saw them finish dead last.
The Knicks finished last season with a record of 21-45, so a baby step in the right direction in New York. For the Knicks to take the next step, RJ Barrett has to assert himself as a difference maker. Good player, but he’s not taking games over on a consistent basis. If he can get to that point, Barrett and Julius Randle will have the Knicks in the playoffs. Head below for our free Knicks vs. Hornets pick on January 11, 2021.
New York Knicks vs. Charlotte Hornets NBA Betting Odds:
Knicks vs. Hornets Prediction:
The Knicks are coming off a 114-89 loss against the Denver Nuggets last night. It was a disappointing performance to push the Knicks to 5-5 on the season. What it wasn’t for the Knicks was another encouraging outing from Julius Randle. He’s been cooking for the Knicks this season, and he was on point again last night. Randle chipped in with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
He is averaging 23.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. His trade value has never been higher. While Randle has been the best player on the floor for the Knicks, he may not be part of the Knicks’ long term plans. Now would be the time to pull the trigger on a trade if the front office believes that. What has been most impressive with the Knicks thus far this season has been their defense.
Randle has played a role in helping the defense out nicely in the paint. The Knicks have conceded just 105.1 points per game for third in the NBA. They are holding the opposition to 44.4% shooting for fourth in the league. While the Knicks weren’t close against the Nuggets last night in a 114-89 loss, I thought the defense held up nicely versus one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.
The problem for the Knicks is that Randle is the only player consistently producing offensively. This team has scored just 89 in each of their last two games. RJ Barrett has to start being more of a consistent contributor. He has his moments, but can disappear at times. Overall, the Knicks are 29th in the NBA with 101.3 points scored per game. On the road that dips to 100.8 points a game. They have a tough matchup against a Charlotte team that has conceded 109.5 points a game for 11th in the league.
There has been an average of 198.75 points scored per game in the last three meetings, dating back to 2019, between the Knicks and Hornets. Both teams are much better than they were back then, offensively, yes, but the defenses are sharper as well. The total here looks a tick too high to me. Before Barrett starts showing up consistently, the Knicks are going to continue to bog down offensively. I like the UNDER in Charlotte.