Wizards at Knicks Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/9/2013
As recently as two weeks ago, I presumed the NBA's scoring race was over and that Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant would become the first player since Michael Jordan to win four straight scoring titles. And it's not like Durant isn't playing well. He's averaging 30.4 points in his past five games and 28.7 in his last 10.
But Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has gone bananas.
It all started when Melo put up 50 on the shorthanded Miami Heat last Tuesday. He followed that with 40 a night later in Atlanta and then 41 on Friday against Milwaukee. That three-game stretch of 131 points was the most by any player this year. Anthony cooled off Sunday in a head-to-head with Durant with "only" 36 points as the Knicks won their 12th straight game. Anthony made at least 15 field goals in each of those games, becoming just the second player in the past 25 seasons to make at least 15 shots in four straight -- Kobe Bryant is the other (2000 and 2007). Anthony now leads Durant 28.44 points to 28.35, gaining about a half-point with his four-game run.
The closest NBA scoring title was when George Gervin edged David Thompson in 1977-78 by 0.07 points per game. Only one Knick has won the NBA's scoring title: Bernard King in 1984-85 when he averaged 32.9 ppg. Anthony is the first Knick since King that season with at least 35 points in four straight games. Perhaps fittingly, King was announced as one of seven inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.
To no surprise, Anthony was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday. He has good numbers this year against Tuesday's opponent, the Wizards, averaging 27.0 points in three meetings.
Wizards at Knicks Betting Story Lines
I still give the Knicks almost no shot to win the Eastern Conference unless LeBron James gets injured. The Heat are still huge 1/4 favorites at Bovada, but New York is now back to No. 2 at 7/1. That said, the Knicks do have some impressive wins in this run, 10 of which came without reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. Eight of the victories have come against teams that currently would make the playoffs (Celtics twice).
The win over the Heat wasn't all that impressive considering LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers sat out. But Sunday's 125-120 victory in Oklahoma City was eye-opening and the Knicks' highest-scoring game of the season. While Melo was terrific, the real hero was J.R. Smith as he hit two key late shots. It gave the Knicks win No. 50 (for the first time in 13 years), and the franchise's third-longest winning streak. New York also is on the verge of clinching the Atlantic Division title and is 2.5 games ahead of Indiana for the east's No. 2 seed.
New York played without power forward Kenyon Martin for the second straight game Sunday -- he has been a tremendous signing. Martin is considered day-to-day. Some guy named Chris Copeland has seen extra minutes in Martin's absence, and Copeland had 13 points, three rebounds and three assists against the Thunder.
The Wizards are almost comically different on the road than at home. They have won nine straight at the Verizon Center, including beating good teams like Memphis, Chicago and Indiana. On the road, the Wizards simply stink. They have lost five straight away games, including inexcusable defeats in Orlando and Toronto. The Wiz were beaten 107-96 in Boston on Sunday night. That dropped Washington to 7-31 on the road but 23-20 overall since John Wall returned from a shoulder injury. The former Kentucky star is having his best season, but many of his key numbers (like he shoots 49.4 percent at home but 39.9 on road) are all down appreciably away from home. He's averaging 22.7 points, 7.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.0 percent from the field since March 1 overall.
Washington will finish the season without rookie guard Bradley Beal. He battled injuries all year, and his season ended last Tuesday against the Bulls when Beal fell hard to the floor and hurt his leg. He had just returned from a left ankle sprain that forced him to miss 11 games. Garrett Temple has been starting at shooting guard in place of Beal.
The Knicks have won two of the three meetings this season. In the most recent one, New York won 96-88 on March 1 in D.C. -- the Wizards' last home loss. Anthony had 30 and the Knicks held Washington without a field goal over the final four minutes. Beal led the Wizards with a career-high 29. Wall had 16 points, six assists and five turnovers for Washington, which led by four entering the fourth quarter.
Wizards at Knicks NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Knicks have been opened as 11-point favorites with the total at 194.5. Washington is 44-31-2 ATS (19-18-1 on road) and 30-44-3 “over/under” (9-29 on road). New York is 42-32-2 ATS (22-16 at home) and 36-38-2 O/U (19-19 at home).
The Wizards are 6-1 ATS in their past seven after a loss. They are 0-5 ATS in their past five road games. The Knicks are 13-3 ATS in their past 16 after a win. They are 5-1 ATS in their past six home games vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 12-3-1 in the Wizards' past 16 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. The over is 6-2 in the Knicks' past eight home games vs. teams with a losing road record. The over is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings in NY. Washington has covered three of its past 16 trips to the Garden.
Wizards at Knicks Picks and Betting Predictions
I am conflicted a bit here. No doubt in my mind that New York wins, but I also think this is a bit of a letdown game off Sunday's huge victory. The Knicks know the Wizards are lousy on the road, and New York is probably looking ahead to Thursday's game at Chicago as the Bulls are 3-0 vs. the Knicks this year. So in that regard, I lean Wizards. But then I remember how truly lousy they are on the road and lost by 21 in their first visit to the Garden this season. The Knicks also have won 11 of the past 12 meetings. I'm still going Washington as I expect it will add a few garbage buckets late to only lose by single digits. Take the under.
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