Knicks v Pelicans
After eight consecutive losses, the New York Knicks are reeling and coach Mike Woodson is feeling the heat. Defeat at Madison Square Garden to the New Orleans Pelicans tonight would hint at a rotten core in the Big Apple.
It’s been a case of Carmelo Anthony going solo for New York this season, with the All Star contributing 26.5 points per game in their miserable 3-12 start. And that predictability has been seized on by opponents who have held the Knicks to under 100 points in their last seven outings, with the fallen giants averaging just 92.4 per night to date with a league-low 51.1 of those coming outside the paint.
More of the same could hurt them against the Pelicans with Anthony Davis emerging as a terrific presence inside the paint, with an average of 3.8 blocks as well as 18.8 points over New Orleans’ last ten games. And in Eric Gordon and Jrue Holliday, they have guards who can push up the pace when required.
Still, New York are 1.92 for the win and at some point, their wretched run is going to end. But what makes more sense tonight is a punt on the points total. With New York's current struggles, and the Pelicans' poor road record, back under the total points line of 197.5 at 1.87.
Lakers v Trail Blazers
After their 11-game surge was surprisingly halted in Phoenix on Wednesday, the Portland Trail Blazers will try to start another winning streak when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.
But if this turns into a battle of the second units, then the hosts could prolong their wait.
The Lakers' bench is tallying a league-best 47 points per night with Portland’s reserves adding just 22.9 (fourth-worst overall).
It bodes well for when Kobe Bryant makes his return in the coming weeks. And with LA a generous 2.40 to make it five wins out of six, look for a Hollywood ending.
Best bet: Go under the total points line of 197.5 in New York-New Orleans at 1.87.