With the NBA post-season looming, the Miami Heat get a possible first round preview on Sunday when they head to New York to take on the Knicks.
In two previous meetings this season, Miami have prevailed but this is a much different Knicks animal than before. Better defensively, they’ve proven a formidable challenger with a 6-3 winning record over fellow play-off teams in the last month.
Contrast that with the Heat who have beaten only one team with a winning record since the All Star break, dropping three of their last five games.
New York’s concern is the health of guard Iman Shumpert who would be the designated Dwyane Wade stopper. It’s a measure of his team’s improvement that they’re still down to odds of 2.32 to win this one but on current form, that’s a price worth taking.
The injury factor could also help Cleveland pull off an upset at Orlando where Magic centre Dwight Howard, diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back, will begin what is likely to be 2 weeks out with a back injury. In his absence, the Magic are 1-4 this season. And although the Cavaliers won’t have Kyrie Irving, it’s worth a punt on Cleveland at +6 points (available at 1.91) as their unheralded reserves try to make their mark.
Tonight’s Eurocup final pits Khimky Moscow against Valencia after both survived bruising semi-finals on Saturday. The Russians needed a final quarter comeback to defeat Spartak St. Petersburg 80-70 while the Spaniards benefited from Jonas Valenciunas’ foul trouble to beat Lietuvos Rytas 80-70.
Khimky looked vulnerable and they’ll be pushed hard by a Valencia side looking to lift the cup for the second time in three years. A handicap of +2 at half-time for the Spanish club is a tempting shout as is a regulation victory at 2.60.
Bet of the Day: Take the Knicks over the Heat at 2.32.