Add Cavaliers to Your NBA Picks vs. Knicks Tonight

Jason Lake

Thursday, December 4, 2014 1:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 1:31 PM UTC

It’s not been a great season so far for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Carmelo Anthony and the struggling New York Knicks have the worst record in the league against the NBA odds.

Jason’s record as of Dec. 2: 12-10 ATS, 0-2 Totals

The Class of 2003 has seen better times. When LeBron James (No. 1 overall) abandoned the Miami Heat in the offseason and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he left Dwyane Wade (No. 5) and Chris Bosh (No. 4) hanging. But the Cavaliers haven’t performed the way we expected. They’re in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 9-7 SU and 7-9 ATS, just half a game ahead of the Heat.

Life could be worse. Carmelo Anthony (No. 3) and the New York Knicks are way down the table at 4-15 SU and 5-14 ATS. Nobody’s done worse against the NBA odds this season. We figured the Knicks would have some trouble figuring out the triangle offense under Phil Jackson and his hand-picked head coach, Derek Fisher. But the way the Knicks are playing right now, they’ll make Cleveland look like multi-time NBA champions when they meet Thursday night (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT) at the Garden. The Cavs have opened as 7-point favorites with a total of 199.


It’s Always Miller Time
We’ve had the chance to fade the Cavaliers during their slow start, but all good things must come to an end, and it looks like Cavs are starting to get it right. They’ve won four straight games at 3-1 ATS, albeit at home against Eastern teams. Cleveland didn’t have much trouble covering giant spreads against the Orlando Magic (+11) and the Indiana Pacers (+10). Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks (+10.5) was a bit different; Milwaukee kept things close before falling 111-108.

We’ll give the Bucks (10-9 SU, 13-6 ATS) all the credit, rather than complain too much about the Cavs. This was still a very good game for the New Big Three of James (26 points, 10 assists), Kevin Love (27 points, 10 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (28 points, six assists), although James and Love did have seven turnovers apiece. Mmmm… turnovers.

Tuesday also saw the re-emergence of Mike Miller, who hit a couple of important 3-pointers after seeing zero action in Cleveland’s previous three wins. The Cavs have resorted to using a pretty tight seven-man rotation, with scant minutes left over for Dion Waiters (minus-4.3 BPM). At some point next week, Matthew Dellavedova (minus-2.1 BPM last year) is expected to return from his knee injury, so that should help. Until then, there’s not much help available for Cleveland’s starters.


Get Thy Bearings
The Knicks actually looked pretty good when they went to Texas and beat the basketball odds against the Houston Rockets (–6) and the Dallas Mavericks (–14), although New York lost both games. They also played fairly competitive basketball back at the Garden versus the Heat (–3.5) and the Brooklyn Nets (–1), only to cough up the cash in the end. Perhaps they’re starting to get their bearings, too?

Perhaps. Jose Calderon (plus-0.9 BPM) has definitely been a positive force on offense since making his Knicks debut on Nov. 22. Calderon had 19 points against the Nets, hitting five of his six trey attempts. His return allowed Shane Larkin (minus-2.4 BPM) to go back to a more comfortable reserve role; Larking and Pablo Prigioni (plus-0.8 BPM) each went 2-for-4 from behind the arc against Brooklyn.

New York could still use some more reinforcements. J.R. Smith (minus-4.3 BPM) had to sit out the Nets game with the flu, but it appears Smith will be back in the lineup Thursday night. There’s a chance that the Knicks could burn Cleveland from long distance – as a team, they’re hitting 37.0 percent of their 3-point attempts, which ranks No. 7 in the league. Smith (39.4 percent) is the most prolific of New York’s gunners. When making your NBA picks keep in mind that he could end up having one of those “flu games” on Thursday, but we’re inclined to keep fading the Knicks for now.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Cavaliers at 5Dimes

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