The Warriors couldn’t get it done Friday night against the best team in the Eastern Conference. Can they beat the NBA odds Saturday against the worst team in the East, the New York Knicks?
Jason’s record as of Feb. 6: 33-28-3 ATS, 2-4 Totals
The Golden State Warriors are no longer the best team in the NBA. That honor now goes to the Atlanta Hawks, after they beat Golden State 124-116 Friday night as 2-point home dogs. Score one for the good guys, although we might have to take back what we said about preferring Golden State on neutral ground. And about Atlanta’s bench being the weaker of the two. On this day, at least, the Hawks reserves were clearly superior.
The Warriors have to suck it up and play again Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG), but this time, their opponents are the New York Knicks, who don’t have a good bench, or a good starting five for that matter. The Knicks are tied for last place in the league standings at 10-40 SU and 20-29-1 ATS. But watch out: New York has beaten the NBA betting odds in seven of the past nine games. Is it time to sell high on the Warriors and buy low on the Knicks?
We’re All Day-to-Day
It would help our NBA picks if we knew what the odds were for Saturday’s game. Things are on hold as we go to press; this being New York, you never really know from day to day whether Carmelo Anthony (21.8 PER) and Amar’e Stoudemire (19.4 PER) are going to play. But it’s no coincidence that the Knicks 0-11 SU and 4-7 ATS this year when Anthony doesn’t suit up – or that their recent run at 5-5 SU and 7-3 ATS began when both Anthony and Stoudemire came off the injured list.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, Stoudemire has been on and off the list during this span. But he did get to play 18 minutes in Friday’s 92-88 loss to the Brooklyn Nets (–6.5 at home), scoring nine points on 3-of-4 shooting with three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Stoudemire’s been a productive player when he’s on the floor – which isn’t nearly often enough. And his minus-1.3 BPM suggests that he’d be less than a league-average player if he were playing on a league-average team. But again, these are the Knicks, and they’re certainly better off when Stoudemire’s active.
Alas, there are several other Knicks who are considered day-to-day. And two of them are good players: Pablo Prigioni (12.8 PER) and Cole Aldrich (15.6 PER). The other guy’s Travis Wear (8.7 PER). Aldrich did manage to play nine minutes against Brooklyn, though, so he should be good to go against Golden State. As always, wait for the shootaround to see who’s playing before making your NBA picks.
So now that the Warriors (39-9 SU, 31-16-1 ATS) have split their last six games SU and ATS, maybe we need to revisit the idea that their betting value has crested. They did a lot of good things Friday night against Atlanta; All-Stars Stephen Curry (27.7 PER) and Klay Thompson (21.9 PER) combined for 55 points and hit eight of their 17 trey attempts. But the rest of the team went 4-of-16 from downtown, while the Hawks as a team were 15-of-27.
Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder had an interesting statement after Friday’s win: “I think we share the ball more than they do.” That’s true. The Hawks lead the league in Assist Ratio at 19.8 percent, but Golden State is right there in second at 19.7 percent. It seems that what we have here isn’t a failure on the part of the Warriors, as much as it is the overly high expectations of the betting marketplace. The Knicks don’t carry the same burden, so as long as both Anthony and Stoudemire are a go for Saturday, we’re willing to take a flyer on everyone’s favorite punching bag.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Knicks (if Anthony and Stoudemire play)