It is a rematch of opening night when the Knicks upset the Bucks in a high scoring affair in Milwaukee, but look for a lower scoring contest from Madison Square Garden Friday.
There is a rematch from opening night this season in the NBA Friday night, but look for a different pace to this game than the first meeting when the Milwaukee Bucks (2-3, 1-4 ATS) this time pay a visit to the New York Knicks (2-3, 3-2 ATS) at historic Madison Square Garden in New York, NY at 7:35 ET in a game available on MSG.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 196½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.
Let’s See Them Do It Again!
The Knick caught the Bucks by surprise opening night in Milwaukee with an unusually strong offensive performance in a 122-97 upset as New York has seven players score in double-digits led by Derrick Williams with 24 points coming off the bench and the Knicks also shot 39.1 percent from beyond the three-point arc. That was an atypical shooting performance by New York however that does not figure to be repeated here.
Meanwhile the Bucks are a bit depleted right now, as while they were already without O.J. Mayo and John Henson, they now have a third player out for this game after former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams sprained his ankle while Milwaukee was the winning NBA pick over the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday and he will not suit up for this contest.
Shooting Under 41 Percent Since Opener
The Knicks are not a good shooting team at they are 19th in the league in shooting percentage at 41.8 percent overall while shooting 33.3 percent from three-point land, which points to how out of the ordinary the opening night game between these teams was. In fact, the Knicks have come back down to earth by shooting just 40.9 percent from the field in the four games since the opener including 36.0 percent in their last game at MSG vs. the Spurs.
The problem for the New York offense is that this is a team without many natural scorers besides All-Star Carmelo Anthony, and Anthony has been slow to get back on track as he is coming back from a knee injury that forced him to miss most of the second half of the season last year.
Sure, Carmelo is averaging 21.8 points but that is because he has hoisted up 19.2 shots per game while shooting a mere 36.5 percent, which would shatter his career low in shooting percentage of 42.6 percent that came all the way back in his 2003-04 rookie season with the Nuggets! The Knicks have no choice but to keep him on the court though and allow him to get back in “basketball shape,” even at the expense of stagnating the offense.
Parker In, Carter-Williams Out
The Bucks may have added Carter-Williams to their list of injuries, but Wednesday also marked the season debut of last year’s second overall draft pick Jabari Parker as he made his much-anticipated return after tearing his ACL last season. This will eventually be a welcome return for a Milwaukee offense that currently ranks 21st in the NBA in scoring at 98.2 points per game, no thanks to being short-handed.
But before the Bucks could realize that offensive improvement, Parker also needs to get himself back into game shape much like Anthony needs to do for New York, and Jabari was noticeably rusty his first game back scoring just two points on 1-for-6 shooting from the floor in 16 minutes of a non-covering 91-87 win over one of the worst teams in the league.
Milwaukee Coach Jason Kidd has announced that he is giving Parker more extended minutes in the next couple of games and that he does not plan on resting him in the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday as of now. While that may serve both Parker and the Bucks well for the long term, it could also hold the Milwaukee offense back a bit for now with the priority being to make Parker’s knee stronger, again at the expense of the Bucks’ offensive flow.
An ‘under’ Series in New York
Finally, the ‘under’ is 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head meetings here at Madison Square Garden. Additionally, the ‘under’ is 5-2 in the Bucks’ last seven games following a win.
The Knicks do not figure to match their anomalous scoring production of the first meeting between these teams in Milwaukee while the Bucks may not have their offensive flow interrupted a bit as they try and work Parker back into the lineup while playing him more minutes, and when you then factor in the absence of Carter-Williams, the ‘under’ looks like the play when Milwaukee visits New York on Friday.
NBA Pick: Bucks, Knicks ‘under’ 196½ (-110)