After losing the first game of their Eastern Conference semi-final series, the New York Knicks are under the cosh ahead of Tuesday’s Game 2 with the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks, who are 11.00 to win the Conference crown, were out-muscled and out-thought in their 102-95 reverse on Sunday, with Indiana’s strategy of throwing a blanket on Carmelo Anthony coming up trumps.
Anthony shot only 10-28 and with David West constantly in his way, it also had the side effect of limiting New York’s three-point opportunities as the Pacers ruled inside and out.
The Knicks will need to get out on the fast break more, against their natural instincts, and if the Pacers can continue to get points at the other end, they have a strong chance of causing an upset over a best-of-seven series.
Indiana are great value at 3.00 to take a 2-0 lead but it’s a safer bet to back them to cover the handicap of +5.5 at 1.91 and to push the total points line over 183, also at 1.91.
The Memphis Grizzlies trail Oklahoma City Thunder 1-0 but they came so close to stealing the opener two days ago before succumbing 93-91. It needed a late score from Kevin Durant to push OKC in front but the Grizzlies had only themselves to blame after spurning late opportunities.
As good as Durant is – and that is extremely good – a great defensive team like Memphis can limit his team-mates enough to give themselves a shot at ousting the Thunder.
The Grizzlies are best value at -3.5 on the outsider line at 3.00 and it’s hard not to see most of this series delivering games under the total points line of 186.
For some teams, however, it’s already the off-season and although free agents can’t be signed on July 1, there figures to be drama in Los Angeles as that date approaches.
Dwight Howard and Chris Paul can re-sign, respectively, for the Lakers and Clippers for more money than elsewhere but while the latter will get a huge offer to stay put, the former’s sole season in LA has been a little less impressive.
Paul is 1.08 to remain a Clipper and 6.00 to slide over to the Lakers. While Howard is 1.12 to remain a Laker but 7.50 to join his hometown Atlanta Hawks.
Best Bet: Take over the points line of 183 in New York-Indiana at 1.91
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