Saturday NBA Hawks vs. Knicks

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, November 16, 2013 1:29 PM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 1:29 PM GMT

The Hawks picked up a win last night and now look to settle a score in New York with the Knicks but which team is the right team to back in our NBA picks preview?

Atlanta Hawks (5-4 SU, 6-3 ATS)

Point guard Jeff Teague took his coach's advice, got more aggressive and ended up with a career-high 33 points and 10 assists to lead the Hawks over the 76'ers at home last night. Teague is more than doubling his career scoring average, currently 19.8 PPG, and is tied for second in the league with 9.9 assists per game. Whether this is a watershed year for the fourth-year man out of Wake Forest or a blip on the radar will become evident as the season wears on but for now he and big Al Horford are the straws that stir the drink in Atlanta.

The Hawks have now won three of their last four games but unfortunately the one team they can't seem to beat, and the one loss during that modest span, is their opponent tonight the New York Knickerbockers. The Hawks have dropped five in a row, eight of nine and the last four consecutive games at Madison Square Garden to the Knicks. New York has also covered the number in NBA odds over their last three matchups.

New York Knicks (3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS)

If the pattern of win/loss, cover/non-cover over the last four games stays true then the Knicks will be celebrating a victory and their backers will be enjoying an addition to their bankroll. In their last trip to the hardcourt, New York bowed to the Rockets at home as one-point underdogs, 109-106. Carmelo Anthony had 45 points but poor defense has been the unfortunate hallmark of the Knicks recently and it was that sloppy defensive play that allowed Houston to negate the huge offensive night from Anthony.

Outside of beating up on the Atlanta Hawks, which they did again on Wednesday night when they notched a 95-91 victory as four-point road dogs in NBA odds, New York has not done much of anything this season. They rank near the bottom in points scored (22nd), rebounds (29th) and assists per game (23rd). But curiously and despite their recent defensive woes, they are still in the top half of the league in points allowed, allowing only 98.4 PPG and good for 11th in the NBA. 

The Knicks will be looking to avoid their fifth straight loss at MSG where they are 1-4 straight up and 0-5 against the number this season. They have allowed an average of 110 points per game which has led to the recent span of home failures. The only victory at home this season was in their opener when they posted a 90-83 win but even that victory was not a cover for the home team as the oddsmakers tagged them as eight-point favorites.

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Free Pick:

There are a few things going for the Knicks tonight and one of them, their dominance over the Hawks, has already been discussed. But it is also the fact that while Atlanta was battling Philly to a 95-91 win, New York was kicking back and enjoying a night off. Back-to-back games in the NBA are no joke and fading the team that is in the midst of consecutive games has been a winning formula. 

In addition, how long do we really believe Jeff Teague can continue his Superman impersonation For our NBA picks? That's not to say Teague isn't talented but you don't just turn into Dwyane Wade overnight. Carmelo Anthony will neutralize any perceived scoring advantage that the Hawks have over the Knicks and New York will tighten up on defense which will allow them to continue their winning ways over Atlanta.

Play New York -4 at Bet365.com.

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