Cleveland Cavaliers (16-29 SU, 19-26 ATS)
The Cavs have won only one game over their last five and not so coincidentally have covered only one game in NBA odds during that span. To add insult to injury those five games took place at the friendly confines of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The boo birds were out in full force on Tuesday night when the home team was waxed by the sub .500 New Orleans Pelicans, 100-99.
The number one pick in the 2013 draft Anthony Bennett remains a work in progress. The Cavaliers have taken an enormous amount of heat because the 20-year-old small forward out of UNLV looks underwhelming at best and a big time bust at worst. However, Bennett was forced into action on Tuesday night with the absence of Anderson Varejao (due to a hyper extended knee) and responded with career highs in minutes (31), points (15) and rebounds (8). It is the kind of production Cleveland has expected from the highly touted rookie since the season began but better late than never.
New York Knicks (18-27 SU, 19-26 ATS)
After dropping five straight the Knicks have woken up and subsequently drilled their last three opponents. Now before you make travel arrangements to watch the Knicks play in the postseason, let us understand that the teams whom they have conquered are hardly elite. On Friday night they spanked the Bobcats 125-96 and covered easily as 4-point home chalk with a preternatural effort from Carmelo Anthony who rained 62 points down on the defenseless Cats. Two nights later Anthony dropped 35 points on the Lakers and Tyson Chandler cleaned the glass with 14 boards as New York outlasted the Lakers 110-103, covering the NBA odds as 6-point favorites.
In their last outing the Knicks knocked off their ancient rivals from Boston as they dominated from box to wire in a 114-88 blowout. Once again, Carmelo led the way for New York with 24 points while Chandler controlled the boards grabbing 13 rebounds. The Knicks have amped up their shooting accuracy by draining over 52 percent of their shots from the field and scoring at least 110 points in each game during the winning streak which contrasted starkly to their meager output in their previous five games which were all losses.
Free NBA Pick:
Let's try to view this objectively rather than take the kneejerk approach of this being a no-brainer because one team is suddenly white hot while the other is ice cold. That's why they have a point spread boys and girls. But as I say that a little voice in my head says puh-leeeeze, like I'm really going to be advising any NBA picks on a team playing as woeful as the Cavaliers particularly when contrasted with the sharpshooting Knicks.
The teams have met only once so far this season and the Cavs throttled the Knicks 109-94 in Cleveland on December 10th. But that was then and this is now. Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton are clearly getting healthier and the team has responded. Carmelo Anthony must be sick and tired of hearing everyone debate "who's better LeBron or Durant?" He wants people to know that there's a third member in that rarified air as he's been playing like man possessed.
I'm not sure the Cavaliers can do much of anything to stop the Knicks who specialize in steamrolling lousy teams. At 16-29 Cleveland certainly fits that bill and I believe it will be more of the same until New York takes on a team that can defend and score. Right now Cleveland can do neither.
Play New York -6 at Bet365.com.