Swinging Johnson - NBA Record (10-13,-13.4 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
As stated in my accompanying article for tonight’s game between the Celtics and the Hornets, my last write-up featured the Hawks traveling to Brooklyn to take on the Nets. It was a caveat emptor kind of play where I specifically advised my readers to tread lightly. It was a one unit wager for a reason as the Hawks outplayed Brooklyn in the 2nd half to come away with the cover and the outright victory. Sometimes you have to close your eyes and pray but alas, our prayers were not answered. Perhaps this game between the Magic and the Knicks will turn us around.
Orlando Magic (18-50 SU, 30-37-1 ATS)
There’s no magic in Disney this season as the entry from Orlando continues to be a punching bag in a league full of boxers. In a season full of disappointment, last night’s clash with the Pacers saw the team shoot a season-low 31.8% shooting and head coach Jacque Vaughn ejected. I’m sure Magic fans watching the game wish they could be so lucky.
Shooting guard Arron Afflalo is leading the team in points this season with an average of almost 17 points per game but it is point guard Jameer Nelson who has led the scoring in his two appearances against the Knicks this season with 25.0 points per contest.
Orlando has won only four games over their last 30 and is in the midst a four-game losing streak as they enter MSG tonight. The only bright side is that the NBA odds makers continue to give them a fighting chance with generous head starts but they are still 30-37 against the all-important number.
New York Knicks (39-26 SU, 33-31-1 ATS)
The good news is that Carmelo Anthony may be back in uniform for his team’s date with the Magic this evening. The bad news is that Kurt Thomas is out four weeks with a stress fracture and All-Star center Tyson Chandler is still on the shelf for at least another week with a bulging disc in his spine.
The Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 90-83 over Utah and finally notched a win on their five-game road trip. But they’re back home tonight where they are 22-10 straight up but only 17-15 ATS. In their last three appearances at Madison Square Garden they lost narrow decisions to NBA powers Miami and Oklahoma City but blew out the Jazz 113-84 on March 9th.
Without the tandem of Anthony and Chandler this team is a shadow of itself. It remains to be seen if the rust will prevent Melo from dominating but if he gets in sync quickly it could be a long night for the Magic. J.R. Smith has lit it up in Anthony’s absence, scoring 33 points against Portland and averaging 23.3 PPG in the three games since Melo has been shelved.
The NBA Pick:
It’s hard to ever consider backing a bad team with your NBA picks but if you start with enough points, they may be able to hang around. I did exactly that a few weeks ago when I backed the Pistons +14 on the road against the Clippers. It was only a 2 unit play but I was quickly disabused of the notion that they could keep pace when the Clips went on to blast Detroit 129-97.
But this is a different game with different teams. But I can’t shake the memory of watching a lousy team get waxed so convincingly. With that said, I will advise a cautionary play on the Knicks, particularly because I don’t know how well Melo has healed and the fact that this team has played lousy basketball without their stars.
Free NBA Picks: Play New York – 10 for 2 units at Bookmaker.