With Amare Stoudemire out, possibly until mid play-offs, and Carmelo Anthony playing through a knee injury that really should see him resting up, the New York Knicks are in a fight to retain homecourt advantage in the first round of the NBA post-season.
Coming just months after the Knicks were challenging Miami for supremacy in the East, it has been a huge step back. After a humbling 92-63 loss to Golden State on Monday, on the opening tie of a five-game road trip, it figures to get even harder on Wednesday when New York pays a visit to red-hot Denver.
It’s a first trip back for Anthony since he was traded from the Nuggets two years ago but only Ty Lawson remains from his time here. While he’ll be keen to impress, his scoring output has dropped to 24.9 over the last ten games and unless he can shake off the pain, it will be tough to halt the hosts who have won nine straight and play the kind of up-tempo basketball which the hobbled Knicks will struggle to contain.
Denver, a league-best 27-3 at home, are favoured by -9 points on the handicap. If New York play like they did in Oakland two days ago, another calamity beckons.
The Los Angeles Clippers are 2-0 against Memphis this term but they’ll fear the form factor when the Grizzlies come to town tonight amid a stretch of 14 victories from their last 15. That’s left the Griz just a ½ game behind their west coast rivals and with Zach Randolph back after an ankle sprain, they could conceivably rise higher.
The Clippers potent offense will pose a challenge for Memphis defensive prowess, which is holding opponents to a league-low 89.5 points per night. But on Tuesday, the Grizzlies only beat another fast-paced team – Portland – by 5, so have a punt on LA to come up out on top in a game that should still go over the points line of 188, available at 1.91.
Bet of the Night: Take Denver on the handicap over New York at 1.91