It’s win or bust for the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors on Thursday night if they want to stay alive in the NBA Play-offs. But even with home advantage, will they extend their Conference semi-final series for one more try?
With no team managing to win two in a row so far, Golden State will try to force a deciding seventh game with the San Antonio Spurs for the right to face the Memphis Grizzles in the Western Finals.
Statistically, they might struggle. Teams that have won Game 5 after previously sitting tied at 2-2 have gone on to win the series 88 out of 99, according to AP stats. In Game 6, however, the previous winner is just 50-49.
If the Warriors are to beat the odds, they’ll need Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to catch fire again with the duo combining for just 13 points in Tuesday’s 109-91 defeat.
Part of that can be attributed to Curry’s sprained ankle but credit is also due to Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green who have put pressure on both on the perimeter while slowing them in transition.
That’s drastically reduced Golden State’s offensive output and while San Antonio – who are 1.85 to close out – have not entirely convinced, they’ve made enough adjustments to justify being 1.12 to win this series, with the Warriors at 5.90 to take the next two games and progress.
The Indiana Pacers hold a 3-1 advantage over New York but if they want to finish off the Knicks tonight, they’ll need to do it in Madison Square Garden. The hosts simply need to up their scoring to overpower the Pacers potent defence or it will surely all end here.
The Knicks have just lost a step since the regular season ended and although they could still regain that lost momentum, Indiana have grown in confidence behind the imposing figure of Paul George.
With that in mind, the Pacers look tremendous value at 2.63 for the win and if they do that, expect this one to stay under the total points line of 179 at 1.91.
Best Bet: Take San Antonio on the handicap of -1.5 at 1.91 over Golden State
Follow Mark Woods' NBA betting tips every day