How is it that New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson still has a job? His team has just two wins this month and returns home off a 1-3 road trip Monday night against Dallas. A 0-4 week, certainly a possibility with games at Miami, vs. Golden State and at Chicago to follow, and perhaps Woodson is looking for work. New York opened as a 3.5-point underdog on NBA odds to the Mavericks with a total of 204.5.
Sinking In The East
Perhaps the Knicks (23-33 ATS, 31-25 O/U at sportsbooks) are semi-waiving the white flag on the season as they will officially buy out both Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace on Monday. Not really huge losses but why weren't they traded? Probably because the Knicks vastly overvalue their middling talent: Iman Shumpert for LeBron James? Both Udrih and World Peach mostly have fallen out of Woodson's rotation and made their unhappiness pretty public. World Peace will find work with a contender just as a defensive stopper.
New York was beaten 107-98 in Atlanta-- and the Hawks were without an injured Paul Millsap and entered on an eight-game losing streak -- on Saturday night with a short bench as neither Udrih nor World Peace were with the team. The Knicks blew a 17-point lead and wasted 35 points from Carmelo Anthony and a season-high 23 rebounds from Tyson Chandler. The Knicks' bench, essentially Amare Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr., was outscored 44-18. New York remains without injured Shumpert, one of the few guys on the team with trade value (just not as much as Knicks think). He's out likely another few weeks with an MCL sprain.
Anthony has said he would take less money to stay with the Knicks (yeah right) if it meant the team could be a contender. He has to be souring on the idea of staying put. Melo has averaged 40.3 points in the three games since the All-Star Break but also a whopping 27.3 shots per night.
Steady In The West
Dallas (32-25 ATS, 31-26 O/U at sportsbooks) is 2-1 since the break, losing at home to Miami on Tuesday and then winning in Philadelphia on Friday and Detroit on Saturday. Dirk Nowitzki continues to perform at an All-Star level at age 35 -- he had 24 against the Pistons -- but his legs look heavy late in games. His field goal percentage in the fourth quarter this season is 44.1 percent, by far the lowest of any quarter. Dirk is shooting 49.5 percent overall, almost 20 points over his career number.
Dallas is No. 8 in the West and it's looking more and more like the only threat coming from below is Memphis, which is two games back of the Mavericks. If Dallas was in the Eastern Conference, it would have a solid hold on the third seed. It has won nine of its past 12 games overall and is 17-8 against the East. The Mavs can score with anyone (seventh in NBA at 104.4 ppg) but aren't very good defensively (24th, allowing 102.2 ppg). Three straight games an opposing player has scored a season high in points against Dallas.
On Jan. 5 in Dallas, the Knicks beat the Mavericks 92-80 as 6.5-point underdogs for sports bettors. Anthony was held to 19 points and just four after the first quarter but was one of five Knicks in double figures. Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani, two other Knicks out injured currently, had 27 points combined. Chandler, the former Maverick, was limited to four minutes due to an illness. Even Udrih contributed with eight assists. Nowitzki had 18 points for Dallas. The Mavs' 35 first-half points were a season low for that half and the 80 total points also were. Dallas has still won 19 of the past 24 meetings.
NBA free picks: Knicks +3.5 and the over. The Mavs are the type of team New York likes to face in that they don't defend well. The Knicks have won two straight at the Garden in this series and the home team has covered five of the past six meetings. The over is 4-1 in each team's past five games overall.