Do the Knicks have any hope against the Phoenix Suns as double-digit dogs on the NBA odds board? New York just went to L.A. & picked up a win Thursday night. Then Golden State destroyed them by 31 points.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 14: 50-47-4 ATS, 5-8 Totals, minus-1.00 units ML
Whatever limitations the triangle offense might have in today’s NBA, at least it gives you a roadmap to victory. The New York Knicks used that map Thursday night and beat the Los Angeles Lakers 101-94 as 7-point road dogs. That was back-to-back paydays for the Knicks, who improved to 3-5 SU and 5-3 ATS in their eight games up to that point.
Then Saturday happened. The Knicks paid a visit to the Oracle, and instead of getting a cookie, they got their ass handed to them on a platter, losing 125-94 to the Golden State Warriors (–19.5). Now it’s off to the desert for Sunday night’s matchup (9:00 p.m. ET, MSG) against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix has stopped the bleeding somewhat after a lousy February, going 5-5 SU and 6-4 ATS over the past 10 games to stay within shouting distance of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The NBA odds are tilted heavily toward the Suns at –12.
Before we completely bury the Knicks (13-52 SU, 26-37-2 ATS) for losing to Golden State by 31 points, let’s take a moment to recognize the awesome power of the 3-point shot. The Warriors hit 19 of their 34 trey attempts Saturday night. There’s only so much you can do to prevent that – as the Lakers experienced Thursday when New York shot 9-of-18 from the perimeter.
The Knicks did do some things right against the best team in the NBA. They won the battle of the boards 51-42, including 20-8 on the offensive glass. Cole Aldrich (16.5 PER) was a beast down low with nine rebounds and five blocks, and he even threw in five assists in just 16 minutes off the bench. Aldrich is New York’s best defensive player right now at plus-2.4 DBPM; Louis Amundson (15.1 PER, plus-2.1 DBPM) has also been effective since joining the Knicks off the scrap heap. Maybe these are triangle guys.
We should also note that Quincy Acy (11.1 PER) made his return Saturday after sitting out the three previous games because of a knee issue and undisclosed personal reasons. Acy played 16 minutes of relief against the Warriors and was a plus-2. Aldrich was a plus-3, and Shane Larkin (10.5 PER) was a plus-1 in 17 minutes off the bench – all this against arguably the best group of reserves in the league.
Needs More Plums
The Suns (34-33 SU, 34-31-2 ATS) don’t have nearly as much depth as Golden State, thanks in part to the trade for Brandon Knight (11.7 PER) that sent Tyler Ennis (12.0 PER in limited action) and Miles Plumlee (13.1 PER) to the Milwaukee Bucks. Not that Ennis and Plumlee were doing great things this year, but now that Alex Len (13.9 PER) is out with an ankle sprain, Phoenix could really use Plumlee’s plus-2.4 DBPM right about now.
As for Knight, he’s also been ruled out for Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle. He was on the sidelines Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks came to town and won 96-87 as 6.5-point favorites. Phoenix has five shooting guards on the roster right now, but none of them started against Atlanta, as the Suns went with a bigger lineup to cover for Knight’s absence.
Given the way Knight (minus-4.0 BPM) has been playing, maybe it’s just as well that he sits this one out. But it was curious to see Gerald Green (14.5 PER) ride the pine in the last two games with Knight unavailable. Green’s minus-2.5 BPM is ugly, but it’s prettier than just about anyone else’s on the Phoenix bench. All the more reason to support the Knicks with Sunday's NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Knicks at Pinnacle