An early afternoon showdown in Madison Square Garden puts the Knicks and Nets together for the second time this season. The NBA Odds have the road Nets as -2 favorites in this game, with a total of 193. The Nets are set to get a big boost in this one, and I think it will lead them to a victory both SU and ATS.
News broke last night that Deron Williams is set to make his return for the Nets, and with how well Brooklyn has been playing, this could either be a great or terrible thing. There have been some that have argued that the Nets are better off with the ball out of Williams’ hands, and I tend to agree some times.
Williams dominates the ball when he is running the offense, and with him out over the last few weeks, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson have been doing a great job of initiating the offense. Now with Williams back, they will have to shift back to playing off the ball and awaiting passes from Williams.
While I think it’s a great thing for the Nets in this game, it might be hurtful in the long run against certain teams. Against the Knicks and Raymond Felton, the return of Williams will be great for their offense over in Manhattan. Felton is not a great defender, and Williams will likely have the best of that matchup while in the game.
Speaking of matchups, even though Carmelo Anthony is set up for a big game, Paul Pierce will at the very least be able to slow him down a little. Despite Anthony being taller and quicker, Pierce still has the defensive ability to limit Carmelo to jump shots, and that is probably key to Jason Kidd’s game plan this afternoon. As long as the Nets keep Anthony out of the paint and off the glass, they will win this one for our free NBA picks.
The Sharp Pick
Brooklyn has had three full days off before this game, and seeing as it’s basically a home game, the Nets are looking great here as -2 NBA Odds favorites on the road. With Williams set to make his return, and all of the injuries for the Knicks, there is great value for this holiday matinee in Madison Square Garden. Both Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin are out with ankle injuries.
While Brooklyn has had plenty of rest before this game, the Knicks are playing their fifth game in eight days. With limited frontcourt help, the Knicks are sitting ducks against a Nets team with plenty of rim attackers. With Williams back, along with Johnson and Pierce, the Nets will have their way in the paint. Even though Tyson Chandler will do a great job when he is in the game, the 18-20 minutes he sits on the bench are going to be tough for the Knicks defensively.
Things have changed a lot since the first meeting between these two teams back in early December. The Knicks rocked the Nets in that game in Brooklyn, 113-83, however with their bench decimated recently, the Knicks are going to find it hard to keep up with the rejuvenated Nets in this afternoon game. Pierce will be able to slow down Carmelo Anthony enough to get the victory.
NBA Pick: Nets -2