Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
The Knicks are tough to beat at home, and if their game earlier this week against the Boston Celtics showed anything, it's that they are going to take home games that end in losses very personally. Carmelo Anthony's reaction to Boston's win and Kevin Garnett's taunts showed that the competitive fire burns very deeply on this Knicks team. All other teams should beware and will need to get ready for a strong and physical kind of battle in the Garden.
The Knicks do have one of the best home records in the league so far this season (13-4) and will be looking to build on that stat. Melo is also going to be looking to bounce back after having a poor game against Boston – he should be ready to go. The last factor that might affect this matchup is Amar'e Stoudemire, who is still working toward normal game rhythm. He is striving to have a big breakout game since his return to action. His presence will be needed for rebounding against the Bulls in a major way.
All in all, the fact that Carmelo Anthony is suspended from Thursday's Knicks game against Indiana will make him fresh for this contest, giving him and New York an extra advantage. This advantage is pushing us to back a Knicks cover with our sports picks tonight.
NBA Pick: Knicks -5
Phoenix Suns vs. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have gotten healthier under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. It needs to be said that Carlesimo has a lot of NBA experience… no, not just as the former head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the victim of an assault by player Latrell Sprewell, but as the assistant to Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.
Carlesimo first made a name for himself in the coaching ranks by leading Seton Hall to the 1989 NCAA basketball national championship game against Michigan, losing by one point in overtime. He has since branched into the pro game and found ample success as an assistant. He has seen what it takes to make a championship team. By learning from Popovich, the best active coach in the NBA, Carlesimo has absorbed a lot of meaningful lessons that he has subsequently applied since taking over for Avery Johnson in Brooklyn.
The Nets are 5-1 under Carlesimo, and the fact that Brooklyn has found such noticeable stability is precisely why Brooklyn should be able to play to its potential and throttle an inferior Phoenix squad, all while covering the NBA odds.
NBA Pick: Nets -7.5
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City did lose to the Washington Wizards this past Monday but that stumble should only pick up this team's level of focus, enabling the Thunder to get back to doing what they do best. Oklahoma City can smell blood in this game. It would love to add to the Lakers' woes and push Los Angeles out of the playoff picture. The Thunder know that with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the floor, they have the elite scorers who can embarrass a Laker defense that has been one of the worst in the NBA this season.
The Lakers might fix their many problems over the longer course of this regular season, but the kinds of things that are dogging Los Angeles at the moment cannot be easily solved, especially since Dwight Howard is simply not healthy – his back is in great pain – and since Pau Gasol is experiencing one of the foremost crises of his playing career. Oklahoma City is the clear choice to add to your NBA betting selections tonight.
NBA Pick: Thunder -7