Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 29 inclusive:
Are we about to watch a basketball game featuring two lame-duck coaches? There’s nothing specific telling us that the New York Knicks are going to part ways with Mike Woodson, or that the Golden State Warriors have had enough of Mark Jackson. But speculation happens when your team is fighting for its playoff life. New York is 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks for eighth place in the East. Golden State is No. 6 in the West, two games ahead of the ninth-place Dallas Mavericks.
One of these two clubs will take a step closer to glory when they meet on Sunday (9:00 p.m. ET, MSG) at the Oracle. The NBA betting lines say it will be the Warriors; they’re laying 8.5 points as we go to press with a total of 202.5. Recent history also suggests the Dubs will prevail. Since 2009, they’re 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS versus the Knicks. But neither team has done all that well over the past week or so. That’s why the rumor mill is churning.
Granted, there’s every reason to believe the Knicks will cut ties with Woodson after the season’s over. Phil Jackson is in charge now (allegedly), and he’s almost certain to bring in someone like Steve Kerr or Fred Hoiberg to act as his coaching avatar. Even before the Zen Master’s arrival, the New York press was calling for Woodson’s head on a platter. And here’s a good one for you: Rumor has it he could land with the Indiana Hoosiers, taking over for Tom Crean. Interesting.
It’s hard to blame Woodson for too much of what’s wrong with the Knicks – who, by the way, are 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS in their past five games after beating the Indiana Pacers on PBO Jackson’s first day at the office. Injuries and past salary-cap discretions have put New York in this position more than anything else. But it is true that the Knicks haven’t been consistent with their effort level this season. And earlier in this critical five-game Western road swing, they got their tokhes handed to them by both the Los Angeles Lakers (+7.5) and the Phoenix Suns (–6).
White Mamba Out
The chatter surrounding Mark Jackson makes less sense on the surface. Is he slowly losing control of the dressing room? That’s the narrative in the wake of the reassignment of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine to the D-League. Scalabrine and fellow assistant Pete Myers ended up exchanging a few words after last week’s 99-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs – another one for the good guys, by the way.
Rumor also has it that Coach Jackson has been asking around the league looking for work. This may have something to do with the fact that his contract hasn’t been extended beyond next year. But the former Knick has had nothing but positive things to say about the Golden State front office, and Stephen Curry (23.5 PER) says the players are 100 percent behind their coach.
Again, injuries haven’t helped the Warriors be all that they can be this season. The latest casualties are Andrew Bogut (17.3 PER) and David Lee (19.4 PER), both of whom are listed as day-to-day. Of the two, Bogut appears less likely to play on Sunday because of a pelvic bruise. Lee expects to play through a hamstring issue, but Coach Jackson says his team will be “smart” about managing Lee’s minutes. Sounds like a smart place to pick the Knicks.
NBA Pick: Take the Knicks +8.5 at Titan Bet[gameodds]5/260461/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]