The surging New York Knicks face a tough test when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and NBA picks.
New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs
Tuesday, March 02, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at AT&T Center
The Spurs opened as 2.5-point favorites and over at FiveThirtyEight, they have them at -4.5. This leaves a 2-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds. We need at least two points between the projections and the lines before we lay any serious wood. Here we are getting enough but are the Spurs the play? FiveThirtyEight gives the Spurs a 67 percent chance to win. The equivalent
For support, we turn to USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin’s projections; he has the Spurs at -1.70 using his Rating numbers, and at -1.02 using his eigenvector analysis. That leaves plenty of room to grab potential betting value with the Knicks +2.5 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review).
Knicks Cruise to Their Third Straight Win
With their third straight win and fourth in their last five games, the Knicks improved to 18-17, their best start since 2012-13 and they currently hold the 4th seed in the East. All this without two starters, Mitchell Robinson (out for at least another month because of fractured right hand) and Elfrid Payton (minus-2.0 Offensive Box Plus/Minus).
Payton is expected to miss his fourth straight game due to soreness in his right hamstring. Derrick Rose (plus-0.2 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) has been solid filling in for Payton, averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 assists on 62.5 percent shooting from 3-point range in his last three games and he should receive another start at point guard. Immanuel Quickley (plus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and Frank Ntilikina (minus-4.3 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) could also see increased playing time.
The Knicks will be fine as long as Rose keeps playing well and Julius Randle has also been incredible, averaging 25.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his last 10 games. Randle led the Knicks with 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists on Sunday's 109-90 road win against the Pistons, RJ Barrett had 21 points and five rebounds and Rose added 14 points and five assists. Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley also stepped up, combining for 28 points off the bench.
Spurs Will Miss Key Players
After nine days off and four postponed games, the Spurs returned to the court without several key players, including Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and Rudy Gay and they went 1-2, with a close 102-99 road loss against the Thunder and home loss against the Nets on Monday. They also beat the Pelicans 117-114 at home on Saturday, behind from Dejounte Murray and from DeMar DeRozan, in his first game back since the death of his father.
The Spurs then fought hard against the Nets on Monday but eventually ran out of gas and lost 124-113 in overtime. DeMar DeRozan had 22 points, 11 assists and six rebounds while Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV added 19 points apiece but the Nets outscored the Spurs 16-5 in overtime to prevail. LaMarcus Aldridge had played well in his new bench role but he struggled against the Nets with just two points in 15 minutes on 0-for-3 from the field and 0-for-2 from beyond the arc.
Aldridge missed six games with a hip injury and he had 11 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench against the Thunder. He was also a reserve against the Pelicans and he had 21 points, five rebounds and one block in 23 minutes. The Spurs need similar production from Aldridge in order to beat the Knicks.
Burks shined with 16 points against the Pistons while Quickley added 12 points in 16 minutes. The Knicks need Burks and Quickley to have big games again, taking advantage of a Spurs team that lacks depth right now. Frank Ntilikina (plus-3.0 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) can be the X-factor on defense, helping contain Dejounte Murray. Also, keep in mind that the Spurs will be playing in the second game of a back-to-back after a tough contest against the Nets and they're eight or nine men deep at the moment.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.