Trends Make the Knicks +5.5 vs. Kings Our NBA Pick

Joe Catalano

Saturday, December 27, 2014 3:18 PM GMT

Sleep Train Arena is the scene and the New York Knicks keep looking to find a win. Will they find a win against a Sacramento Kings teams with an uncertain status of their superstar, DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins? Find out who we like in this game.

Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 pm ET tonight at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. According to the NBA odds, the Kings are a 5.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 201.5.

Will Boogie Play?
The $64,000.00 dollar question of the day is will DeMarcus Cousins play? He's missed a bunch of games due to illness after a fast start to the season and once again he was out for the Kings' game in their 115-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns due to illness. Even though the Knicks have been atrocious, having Cousins in the lineup would give the Kings a massive advantage.

At this point, his status hasn't been updated, therefore consider it a game- time decision. For the Knicks, they will be without Quincy Acy due to a 1-game suspension in which he threw an elbow at John Wall on Christmas Day. We'll probably see Amare Stoudemire in the starting lineup for the Knicks as head coach, Derek Fisher, has been tinkering with the lineup, trying to find any combination that will gel. Thus far, Fisher has been unsuccessful in finding any success in New York

 

Matador Defense
I've seen a ton of Knicks games this season and everyone has said that the Triangle Offense is easy to learn and the Knicks have had a difficult time learning this style of offense. From an outsiders perspective, the Knicks have simply played poor defense and haven't been knocking down their shots.

In their last couple of games, John Wall and Isaiah Thomas have had an easy time penetrating to the hoop without any contention. this is on the Knicks point guards, but the team as a whole can be held responsible. Guys like Jose Calderon and Tim Hardaway Jr. will need to find a way to  defend Darren Collison, who also has great ball-handling skills.

New York will also simply need to knock down their shots. This is a team that always gets off to a slow start and is chasing their opponent from behind the entire game and just coming up short.

Carmelo Anthony needs assistance on the offensive end and Amare Stoudemire could be the key to the Knicks success. For the season, Stoudemire is averaging 13.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. I don't know if Coach Fisher has him on a minutes restriction or his body just can't handle the rigors of a 48 minute game, but Stoudemire needs to play more. Although I don't expect that to happen, I do expect Amare to knock down 50 % of his shots taken tonight.

 

Rudy Gay
The Kings have been a very confusing team this season. They looked better than ever with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay having huge seasons. Cousins goes down for a period of time and their head coach is immediately fired. It's one of the worst firings that I've ever seen.

Guys like Darren Collison (15.9 ppg. 5.8 apg., 3.3 apg) and Ben McLemore (12.4 ppg. 3.2 rpg.) have been key to the improvement of the Kings, but without a healthy DeMarcus Cousins, they are a slightly below .500 team. Tonight, they get a bit of a break facing a weak Knicks team and should be able to get the job done without Cousins if he's unable to play. The reason for this is the leadership of star Rudy Gay.

For the season, Gay is averaging 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. He's the perfect complimentary player to Cousins.This is a player that was taught the fundamentals of basketball at the University of Connecticut and has turned into a full-fledged all-star. The Knicks will need to "d-up" against Rudy Gay or it will be a long night for Derek Fisher's squad.

 

Outcome
The Knicks have a knack for keeping games close while losing. I was actually hoping for the betting spread to be a bit larger. Nonetheless, without Cousins in the lineup, this can be a very competitive basketball game. I will suggest bettors to make the Knicks their NBA pick.

NBA Pick- New York +5.5 at 5Dimes