The New York Knicks nearly pulled off the upset Friday night as double-digit dogs. The NBA odds will give them another chance this Saturday when they visit the Chicago Bulls, who are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 25: 61-55-4 ATS, 5-11 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
Surprises, lots of surprises. The New York Knicks didn’t just cover the basketball odds Friday night against the Boston Celtics – they nearly won straight-up, but couldn’t quite get the job done in a 96-92 loss. Full marks for effort, though it was really Boston going 4-of-20 (huh huh huh) from the perimeter that secured a rare payday for the Knicks (+11 at home).
Time to take this dog and pony show on the road. New York will visit the Chicago Bulls Saturday night (8:00 p.m. ET, WGN), and this time, the NBA odds are even more generous, giving the Knicks up to 16.5 points as we go to press. Chicago’s been playing very well of late, winning four out of five SU and ATS, but 16.5 points is still a lot of points.
Nothing much new to report from the Big Apple. The Knicks (14-59 SU, 28-43-2) snapped their 0-5 ATS losing streak with a late run, reducing Boston’s lead from 11 points to four with 25 seconds remaining, but the Celtics held on for the SU victory. Tim Hardaway Jr. (12.2 PER, minus-4.2 BPM) didn’t play for the Knicks, nor is he expected to play Saturday as he tries to recover from a sprained right wrist.
Somewhat curiously, Cole Aldrich (17.0 PER, plus-0.5 BPM) also didn’t see any action for New York, although that wasn’t because of any injury concerns that we know about. Instead, blame Andrea Bargnani (16.0 PER, minus-4.1 BPM) for having one of his better offensive nights. Bargnani played 40 minutes, shooting 10-of-20 for 25 points with seven rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks. Imagine if the Knicks sign him up this summer. It could happen.
Teach Me How Not to Dougie
So we turn our attention to the Bulls (44-29 SU, 34-39 ATS), who have been one of the least reliable NBA picks out there this season. Their 4-1 SU and ATS streak follows on the heels of a 1-4 SU and ATS run. Every team has its ups and downs, but we’re getting a little tired of this rollercoaster ride.
Part of the problem is that you never really know who’s going to suit up for the Bulls. But for the moment, aside from Derrick Rose (16.0 PER, minus-1.3 BPM), they’re about as healthy as you could hope for. The only other two injuries are to third-stringers Doug McDermott (6.2 PER, minus-8.0 BPM) and Carmen Bairstow (2.3 PER, minus-7.8 BPM), the two worst players on the team this year.
As for who is playing for Chicago, let’s take a moment to shine the spotlight on Nikola Mirotic (17.7 PER, plus-0.9 BPM), who’s making a late run for NBA Rookie of the Year. Not that the 24-year-old Spanish-Montenegrin sensation should really be considered a rookie; he was a star in the Euroleague for Real Madrid before signing up with the Bulls this offseason. And after a bit of a slow start adjusting to the NBA, Mirotic is en fuego just when Chicago needs him most. He’s been good for 20.6 points and 7.7 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per game this month.
Even with Taj Gibson (16.0 PER, plus-0.6 BPM) back in the lineup, Mirotic is getting heavy minutes off the Bulls bench. He toasted the Toronto Raptors (+3 at home) for 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting on Wednesday, and led all players at plus-24 in a 116-103 come-from-behind win. The Bulls have been idle since then, which should help them beat the basketball odds Saturday, but it’s always difficult to recommend a team that’s laying 16.5 points. We’ll do it anyway with our NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Bulls -16.5 at The Greek