It's never easy laying so much chalk, but the Knicks are a total mess right now. We think Houston is well worth investing in with your NBA picks for Thursday night.
The Rockets have opened up as 11.5-point favorites, but we wouldn't be surprised at all if that number goes even higher. That shows you how bad New York has been throughout the season. Keep track of the live NBA odds movement for yourself using SBR's handicapping service, which updates in real time.
With so many injuries, the Knicks have had a very tough time covering the gaps and scoring enough points to stay competitive. That would explain a low total of 193.5 on the board for tonight.
New York Knicks
Ugly. Just ugly. The Knicks are 5-33 on the year this season, which is just crazy, or maybe, it's not actually crazy at all. We knew there were a lot of flaws to this team, and we knew it was going to take time for them to adjust to a new GM (Phil Jackson) and a new coach (Derek Fisher), not to mention a new offense.
But, the results have been even worse than possibly imagined. Coming into tonight, New York has dropped 13 consecutive matchups, and most of those losses haven't even been close. In fact, the Knicks have lost each of their last six games by double digits, proof of just how poor they've been performing.
J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have now been shipped away too, leaving an already thin New York team that much more depleted. With Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire dealing with injuries too, a large portion of the scoring load is going to fall on the shoulders of Tim Hardaway Jr., who will be given every opportunity to prove what he can do with extended playing time. Samuel Dalembert was also waived after some very encouraging performances from young Cole Aldrich, so it looks like the Knicks are perfectly content with preparing for next year already.
Inconsistency has been plaguing James Harden and company, as they've alternated losses and wins over their last six games. Overall, they're at 24-11 this season, so there's little reason for concern.
Houston put forth a complete effort in last night's 105-93 road win over Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the Cavaliers (who were missing LeBron James). James Harden had a 21/9/7 line, while Dwight Howard was a force inside, racking up 17 points and 19 rebounds in 37 minutes of action. The Rockets completely dominated Cleveland inside, while Trevor Ariza, Josh Smith, Donatas Motiejunas and Corey Brewer also scored in double figures in the all-around team effort.
Coach Kevin McHale is still trying to figure his best starting five and rotation, as he's been tinkering by testing out Smith (new addition) in the starting lineup and then off the bench. Last night he was apart of the second unit and seemed to play much better overall, so we'll have to see if that's an arrangement that will stick for tonight's encounter in the Big Apple.
We just can't go anywhere near New York in this spot. The Knicks were already bad enough before they got ravaged by injuries, so it's just embarassing at this point.
Meanwhile, Houston recorded a ncie road win over Cleveland last night and should be up for the challenge of putting on another show inside Madison Square Garden tonight.
Though this is more of a fade of the Knicks than anything else, the Rockets do have a good deal of depth, so we think their second unit can keep the pressure on and extend a likely early lead even more, which eases some concerns we have about the high number. We like Houston to run away with this one on their way to a cover for backers and will recommend adding them to your NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Houston Rockets -11.5 at The Greek