So much for buying low on the New York Knicks. They’re getting pummeled by the NBA odds, players are dropping left and right, and the ornery Memphis Grizzlies are coming up on Monday’s schedule.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 21: 55-50-4 ATS, 5-9 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
We really, really wanted to believe. Three weeks ago, the New York Knicks beat the reeling Toronto Raptors 103-98 as 11-point home dogs. Then the Knicks confounded us with a 101-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers (–7 at home). And last Tuesday, New York reached the top of the mountain, dropping the defending champion San Antonio Spurs (–14.5 away) 104-100 in overtime. The triangle is working~!
Yeah, forget about it. That one shining moment against San Antonio was the only payday the Knicks have earned in their last six games. Things got particularly ugly Sunday afternoon as the Raptors, minus Kyle Lowry, got their revenge in a 106-89 victory, pulling away late to cash in as 12-point home faves. As if that weren’t bad enough, New York has to get right back on the horse and play the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG). Memphis is available between –11.5 and –13 on the NBA odds board at press time.
It gets worse. Alexey Shved (21.2 PER, plus-2.6 BPM), our new favorite player and go-to source for awful puns, suffered a rib contusion on Sunday and didn’t play the second half against Toronto. Shved is also the primary reason we were thinking about buying low on the Knicks (14-56 SU, 27-41-2 ATS) in the first place. He’s been a major upgrade over Jose Calderon (11.4 PER, minus-3.1 BPM), who remains out indefinitely with a strained left Achilles.
If Shved can’t go on Monday, Shane Larkin (11.0 PER, minus-2.1 BPM) is next in line at point guard. Larkin had a decent game against the Raptors, going 3-of-5 from downtown with eight assists and a pair of steals in 33 minutes of relief. But the former Miami Hurricane has yet to distinguish himself in the NBA. He was a throw-in when the Knicks traded Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks for Calderon and Sam Dalembert (no longer in the league) and assorted bits and pieces. Hey, at least New York got Thanasis Antetokounmpo out of the deal.
It’s been a while since we were talking about Memphis (49-21 SU, 33-35-2 ATS) in positive terms. However, it looks like happy days might be here again for the Grizz. They’ve covered back-to-back games, beating the Mavericks (–3 at home) and the Portland Trail Blazers (+3 away) to get a somewhat firmer grip on second place in the Western Conference.
It’s not a coincidence that both those wins came after Mike Conley (19.3 PER, plus-3.0 BPM) returned to action. We were going to follow the Mavs last week if Conley didn’t suit up, but he did, and he was a plus-9 against Dallas. Then he burned the Blazers for 21 points on just 8-of-11 shooting to finish at plus-32. That’s more like it.
Mutt and Jeff
Ah, nothing comes easy, though. Courtney Lee (11.9 PER, plus-0.6 BPM) had to sit out against Portland with a sprained right hand, and his status for Monday is in doubt. We’re not too concerned; Lee’s a quality glue guy and a strong 3-point shooter at 41.8 percent, but Memphis had both Tony Allen (14.7 PER, plus-3.3 BPM) and Jeff Green (14.4 PER, minus-0.2 BPM) in the starting lineup against Portland, and they seemed to complement each other’s talents reasonably well. Green even hit five of his seven trey attempts to lead all Memphis scorers with 23 points.
It’d be nice to see the Grizz string together a few more ATS wins before jumping back on their bandwagon, but given the mess the Knicks are in, we’re content to add Memphis to our NBA picks for Monday. And may the sphere be with you.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Grizzlies -13 from Pinnacle