The New York Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony in Thursday’s 81-76 loss to the Indiana Pacers, holding on to cash as 5 ½-point road dogs. Friday’s NBA matchup report has Anthony and Co. returning home against the Chicago Bulls, who went 2-0 ATS in the first two meetings between these rivals.
Knicks, Smith edged out in Indiana
New York was held to a sparse 34.8 percent field shooting in Thursday’s defeat, while outrebounding the Pacers, 51-48. Knicks guard J.R. Smith piled in a team-high 25 points en route to logging six of his side’s 14 assists.
New York’s Tyson Chandler picked up his sixth double-double in seven games, notching 12 points and 15 boards. Chandler added three blocks, while uniting with Smith to knock down 6-of-8 free throws.
The battle’s combined 157 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 184, moving the UNDER to 5-4 in the Knicks’ last nine games. New York was shut out in fast break points by a 10-0 margin, while trailing by as many as 13 points.
Bulls, Boozer blow lead at home
Chicago saw a three-game winning streak end with Wednesday’s 104-96 setback as a six-point home favorite against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bulls were outscored in the second half, 54-39, blowing an early 15-point lead.
Bulls forward Carlos Boozer piled in 22 points and 11 rebounds, finishing with a sixth straight double-double. Chicago’s Nate Robinson came away with team-highs of six assists and five steals, while forward Taj Gibson logged his squad’s sole two blocks.
The duel’s combined 200 points jumped above the ‘total’ of 190, lifting the OVER to 3-1 in the Bulls’ last four games. Chicago edged out the Bucks in paint points, 56-34, while held to 41.1 percent field shooting.
Back the OVER in New York
The NBA odds makers at 5Dimes.eu opened New York as a five-point home favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 191 ½. Early betting action on the Bulls and UNDER dropped the numbers to 4 ½ and 190 ½, respectively.
I am adding a ticket on the OVER in this matchup to Friday’s free picks, looking for both sides to showcase some octane. Anthony is back for the Knicks and should be on a tear following his one-game suspension, while the Bulls have shot 45 percent from the field away from home.
Both squads rank in the Eastern Conference’s top six clubs for both three-point shooting and free throws. New York’s Steve Novak and Carmelo Anthony have connected beyond the arc at 44.4 and 42.8 percent clips, respectively, while Bulls mates Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson have combined for an 86 percent mark at the foul line.
December’s meeting at Madison Square Garden between the foes saw Chicago come away with a 110-106 win as OVER tickets cashed. Anthony and J.R. Smith united to notch 55 points for the Knicks, while Chicago’s Luol Deng hit 10-of-25 field buckets en route to a season-high 29 points.
The OVER has cashed at 5-2 in New York’s last seven games played on no rest, while going 4-1 in the Bulls’ last five spots that followed a defeat. Look for the OVER to get the money again here, adding to the wager’s 4-2 clip in the last six meetings between these rivals.
NBA Picks: Back the OVER