NBA Playoffs Odds and Predictions: Knicks at Heat Game 5 Picks
by Alan Matthews - 5/8/2012
There’s no doubt the Miami Heat are a good team, but it sure feels like everything is also breaking their way so far in these playoffs. In their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Knicks, which Miami leads 3-1 heading into Wednesday’s Game 5, the Heat haven’t had to deal with injured Knicks starting point guard Jeremy Lin at all (and apparently won’t). Then Miami caught a big break when starting New York shooting guard Iman Shumpert tore his ACL in Game 1.
The breaks kept coming. Knicks starting power forward Amare Stoudemire gashed his hand in anger after a Game 2 loss and missed Game 3. And then in Game 4, the Knicks lost Lin’s replacement, Baron Davis, to a very serious knee injury that could end his career. And I haven’t even mentioned that Miami won’t have to face Chicago’s Derrick Rose (or have to worry about playing a Game 7 in Chicago in the East Finals now) or Orlando’s Dwight Howard (injured before the playoffs) on the way to a likely spot in the NBA Finals.
The way things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Boston lost Rajon Rondo at this point, the Indiana Pacers saw Danny Granger go down and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Andre Iguodala suffered a season-ending injury. Those are likely to be the three other teams in the East’s Final Four with Miami (the Heat would get the Pacers in the semis). Miami is down to 2/7 to win the Eastern Conference for the second year in a row.
Knicks at Heat Betting Story Lines
The Knicks at least ended their NBA record 13-game playoff losing streak Sunday in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden behind 41 points from Carmelo Anthony and 20 points and 10 boards from Stoudemire. It was New York’s first playoff win since April 29, 2001.
Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra made a curious decision in Game 4. Carmelo did most of his scoring against Shane Battier, including for the entire fourth quarter. For the first three games of the series, and even for the last game of the regular season between the teams on April 15, Spoelstra went with LeBron James on Anthony for the stretch run.
On Sunday, Anthony scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the fourth. In the series, Anthony has shot 12-of-41 (29 percent) with James guarding him and scored 31 points, including free throws. With Battier on Anthony, the Knicks star is 20-of-38 (53 percent) and has scored 56 points. James was mostly guarding Tyson Chandler on Sunday as playing the offensively limited Chandler instead of Anthony allows James to conserve energy on defense.
The Heat are kicking themselves over letting one get away and having plenty of time to rest up for the next round. Dwayne Wade missed a potential winning three-pointer at the buzzer Sunday on a possession in which LeBron didn’t even touch the ball and actually was the third option behind Wade (who was having a good fourth quarter) and Chris Bosh.
Now New York is down to third-string point guard Mike Bibby, who happened to join the Heat late last season for their playoff run. The Knicks were holding out slim hope that Lin could somehow play for the first time since March 24, but Coach Mike Woodson officially ruled him out Tuesday (and likely for the rest of the series if it’s extended). Lin only faced the Heat once as a starter this season and was terrible, committing eight turnovers and shooting 1-for-11 in a Feb. 23 loss at Miami.
So Bibby will start and Toney Douglas will see minutes at the point. In addition, Woodson, who reportedly is in talks to get the full-time coaching gig, says he’ll play either Anthony or J.R. Smith at point guard when the Heat uses its big lineup featuring either LeBron or Wade at point guard alongside Battier, Mike Miller and Bosh. Bibby isn’t a good defender and obviously can’t guard LeBron or Wade, and Woodson doesn’t want him on Miller, either. Douglas is much better defensively.
Knicks at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Heat opened as 11-point favorites (early action about 55 percent on Knicks) with the total at 183 on NBA odds. New York was 15-18 ATS on the road this season (failing to cover in the first two games at Miami in this series) and 12-21 on the ‘over/under’ away from home. The Heat were 18-15 ATS at home during regular season and 10-23 on O/U. The under has hit in three of the four games in this series.
The Knicks are 10-1 ATS in their past 11 Wednesday games. The Heat are 10-3 ATS in their past 13 playoff games as the favorite. The over has hit just once in the Knicks’ past 10 games vs. teams with a winning record. The over has hit just once in the Heat’s past 10 games vs. a team with a winning record. The under is 9-1-1 in the past 11 meetings between these teams.
NBA Playoff Predictions: Knicks at Heat Betting Picks
The Knicks really turned up their defense in the two games at home, holding the Heat to 87 points in both Game 3 and 4 and a combined 41.9 percent shooting from the field. But in the first two games in South Florida, the Heat averaged 102 points per game and shot 48.6 percent and 52.1 percent, respectively, from the floor. I look for more of the same here. I have no doubt whatsoever the Heat will be motivated to win this game and start to focus on the next round. But 11 points is a lot. So take the Knicks and the under.
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