Knicks Offensive Woes To Continue In Boston: Take 'Under' As The NBA Pick

Jay Pryce

Friday, March 4, 2016 3:13 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 4, 2016 3:13 PM UTC

Two Atlantic division rivals headed in wildly different directions clash in TG Garden tonight as the ice-cold Knicks visit the scorching Celtics. Get your NBA pick and betting analysis here.

New York Knicks (25-37 SU, 30-30-2 ATS)
Mounted frustration, lost hopes, and a bundle of apologies surround the Knicks with 20 regular-season games left on their schedule. Picking up just five wins in its last 22 games, New York is not mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but one may have a better chance at hitting the PowerBall.

The Knicks' just can't score, plain and simple. Their 98.8 points per game ranks 25th in the league, and 48.0 effective field goal percentage is better than only the Bulls and Lakers. It's not that they have hot nights and cold nights from the floor, they just can't hang with tough defenses. When New York tips off against an opponent allowing a 45 percent (NBA average) or lower shooting percentage, they score 95.9 points per game (42.8 percent) versus 102.6 (45.3) to defense yielding above the mark. Boston enters the game with the fifth best opponent shooting percentage in the NBA at 43.7 percent. It could be another night under the century mark for Carmelo Anthony and company.

Speaking of Carmelo, he is New York's offense. When he sinks more than his 21.5 ppg average on the night, the Knicks are 16-11 ATS, scoring 99.8 points a tilt. In addition, Anthony is going to shoot a lot, and when he's over 45 percent on the night from the field, New York is 13-7 ATS. The Knicks star is 20-of-45 lifetime from the floor against the Celtics' starting frontcourt of Amir Johnson, Jae Crowder and Jared Sullinger. Decent numbers, but not to instill much confidence. Moreover, Anthony is a little banged up physically and emotionally. He made headlines for heckling a fan in-game a few nights ago and skipped the team's big annual charity bowling event Wednesday for “personal reasons.”


Boston Celtics (37-25 SU, 35-26-1 ATS)
Unlike the Knicks, the Celtics are soaring. Since Jan 12, their 18 wins are second most in the NBA behind Golden State, though head coach Brad Stevens' crew have played in two extra games. Nonetheless, its 6.8 average scoring margin of victory is third highest behind the Spurs and the reigning champs. Oh, and Boston is 12-0 SU and 9-2-1 against the NBA odds at TD Garden during the stretch.

Boston owns the third most efficient defense, allowing 102.4 points per 100 possessions with the number improving to 99.3 when at home; only the Spurs (95.9) protect their hardwood more effectively. Stevens' group, lead by a pesky backcourt made up of Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, lead the league in forcing turnovers with 16.8 per game.

SF Jae Crowder is emerging as a real offensive threat. The former Marquette star went from averaging barely nine field goal attempts per game through the Celtics first 20 of the season, to now a little more than 12. He's posted 20 or more points in three of last five games, and his added production often proves beneficial to bettors. When he drops more than 10 points a game, the Celtics are 31-17-1 ATS. When the buckets come at 40 percent or better from the field, their ATS record improves to 24-11-1 overall, beating the number by 4.1 points a night. Crowder is 10-for-19 from the floor in his career against New York's starting five.


Final Analysis
The Celtics are one of the quickest and most free-shooting teams in the NBA. Their 98.8 possessions per 48 minutes ranks third behind Sacramento and Golden State, and 89.9 field goal attempts the most. They'll force New York into a game its not suited to play, and should win. Boston, though, may be laying a little too much at 9.5 points. At most, New York scores 95 points. The value here lies in the UNDER 210 for your NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Under 210
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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