The Kings can win because…
Their opponent is in such a marked state of disarray. The Knicks’ season has been a disaster and the retooling of the roster from the 2012-2013 season has not worked the way the organization had hoped. While they kept J.R. Smith, a volatile player who did not figure to replicate a productive yet turbulent 2013 performance, they passed on Chris Copeland and Steve Novak, who provided more dependable three-point shooting without being cancers in the locker room. One of their most misguided additions was Andrea Bargnani, a soft big man from the Toronto Raptors who did not give New York any of the things it really needed (defensive toughness, a backup for Tyson Chandler, rebounding production).
This team really hasn’t gelled on the court even when most of the starters have been healthy. There has been very little consistency from week to week, and Madison Square Garden has not been a home court this team has defended. The Knicks are just a mess and that’s not a team you want to invest in with your NBA picks. Sacramento can beat them.
The Knicks can win because…
Their opponent just isn’t better. The Kings might play in a tougher conference but they have fewer wins than the Knicks. These teams are on relatively equal footing, which means that Sacramento isn’t going to take the court with a clear advantage on the NBA odds over the Knicks – that can be said at the very least. The Kings allow over 103 points per game and have simply not been able to address their issues at this end of the court. The lack of defense on the Kings’ roster is what has kept this franchise from making a playoff appearance in the loaded Western Conference over the past few years.
There’s something else which has to be said about the Kings: They are playing this game one night after going to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers. Back-to-back sets are regularly brutal, but for the Kings to face this physical test one more time just before the All-Star break represents a nasty bit of bad luck for them. It will be so easy for the Kings to mentally relent in this game, so take the Knicks with your sports picks.
Outlook & Pick
This is a bad spot for the Kings. Sacramento might be able to beat New York with a full day’s rest in advance of competition but not on the second end of a back-to-back just before the All-Star break. Expect New York to dissect Sacramento’s defense and win a high-scoring affair.
Pick: New York -5.5