Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET at Madison Square Garden in N.Y.,N.Y. and can be seen on NBA TV.
The NBA odds boards currently list the Knicks as a 4 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 194.5. While a look at the game’s total might be tempting, I have decided to stick with the spread, as I believe that it holds the best value for our NBA picks in this matchup.
These teams could possibly meet up in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but for now, who will have the last laugh as “New York’s team?”
Being a Brooklyn native, Carmelo Anthony is always going to have a little extra emotional connection when he plays the Nets. Thus far, the Knicks hold the 2-1 series edge, and Melo has averaged 37 points in those games. In his first game against Brooklyn, he hoisted up shot after shot as the Knicks were defeated, but now he’s comfortable. Expect a 30 plus point game from Anthony.
The Knicks are a coming off of a successful trip to London, England in a 15 point beating of the Pistons. They’ve had plenty of time to rest for this big game on MLK Day. New York has been hosting games on this day for a long time and although they want the win, a win on MLK Jr. Day makes it extra special for the Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony and Jason Kidd have really been off target as of late, and the Knicks have felt it more from Melo, being that he’s responsible for most of their offense. He’s shooting just 36.3% from the field in his last 5 games while Kidd is shooting just 34% from the field and is averaging 5.8 points per game in January.
Raymond Felton will be back in action shortly, but for now Iman Shumpert will be there to take some of Kidd’s minutes. Shumpert has come back from injury and Kidd will be more than glad to give some of his “PT” away to stay fresher and more efficient at 39 years of age.
Look for the Knicks to come into this game ready. This is the best team that Carmelo Anthony has ever played on and this is a team that raises their standard of play during big moments.
A Season of Success
Currently, just 2 games behind the Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead, this season has been an immense success for the Nets.
The move from New Jersey to Brooklyn was the correct one for the Nets. Fans weren’t coming out in the Meadowlands, but the Brooklyn fans have certainly taken pride in their team. This is a big game for Brooklyn, and the team will be looking to make a statement.
A Little Momentum
After a 94-89 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the Nets are in a good frame of mind. Deron Williams is finally leading this team and playing with confidence. Although Joe Johnson hasn’t had the stroke against the Knicks, he is also starting to come into his own, averaging 18.6 points in his last 5 games. Along with center Brook Lopez, most of the Nets’ offense will come from these 3 men. The Nets have also been surprised by the play of forward, Reggie Evans, as of late.
The New Rodman?
I said this once and I’ll say it again; Reggie Evans is the closest thing to Dennis Rodman that the NBA has seen in quite some time. Evans has taken over the lead in rebounding for the Nets in limited action. He’s also coming off of another 20 rebound performance in his last game. Evans doesn’t look for his shot and can become quite a nuisance in this game to Tyson Chandler. Brook Lopez doesn’t want to do the dirty work, but Reggie Evans will be more than happy to help out. He can be a key player in this game.
Odds makers really have this spread “right on the money”. It’s exactly where it should be and it makes for a difficult game to NBA bettors to handicap. This is an emotional day. There’s only one legitimate superstar on the court today and look for Melo to take over when it’s crunchtime. Lay the points.NBA Picks: Knicks -4