New York Knicks at Miami Heat Free NBA Picks, Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 2/27/2014
New York Knicks (21-36) at Miami Heat (40-14)
NBA Basketball: Thursday, February 27, 2014, at 8 p.m. EST (AmericanAirlines Arena)
You know how the NFL goes largely by the previous year's standings to determine which teams play in the Monday night and Sunday night highly-rated games? (Every team plays once on Thursday night). Perhaps the NBA will go to that model starting in 2014-15, and then we won't be subject to having the New York Knicks on national TV just about every night. Yet again the Knicks are featured in the TNT doubleheader this week as they visit Miami for the first time this season.
From a basketball-only standpoint, New York doesn't deserve all this attention. From a soap opera standpoint, it is interesting. Every loss seems to push Carmelo Anthony closer and closer to leaving as a free agent this summer. Now it will be interesting to see if embattled coach Mike Woodson starts point guard Raymond Felton in this one. He was arrested on multiple gun charges early Tuesday morning and could be facing jail time down the road because of the ultra-strict gun laws in New York. He appeared in court and posted bail on Tuesday. However, the NBA's collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow a team to discipline a player solely because of an arrest. Remember when Kobe Bryant played through those rape charges a decade ago?
The Knicks would love to void Felton's contract now -- they tried to give him away before Thursday's trade deadline -- but history shows that won't fly either. Latrell Sprewell's contract wasn't voided, either, for example. Gilbert Arenas was suspended after bringing guns into the locker room but only after he seemed to make a joke of it while mimicking firing off a gun before a game. His problems occurred on NBA property, so David Stern could drop the hammer. This isn't the case here. Think the Knicks regret letting Jeremy Lin go even more now? Felton essentially replaced him. He's averaging a career-worst 10.4 points and shooting a terrible 29.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Yet he's clearly the best point guard on the team, so New York can't suspend him with pay if it hopes to make a playoff push.
New York Knicks at Miami Heat Betting Story Lines
With all due respect to Felton, the big news here is that LeBron James will play. He missed Sunday's win over the Chicago Bulls after breaking his nose last Thursday in a thoroughly impressive win at Oklahoma City -- one I projected here at Doc's. James will have to deal with some pain and discomfort, and it's possible that if he takes the wrong hit to the face he could be knocked out for a long stretch, but guys have played through this type of injury often -- it's really amazing broken noses aren't more prevalent -- and usually to no problem. It's more getting used to the mask than anything. The Heat still have something to play for as they are just two games behind Indiana in the Eastern Conference, and Miami now seems to want that No. 1 seed and LeBron really wants that MVP Award. He says his game won't change at all with the mask (he wore one for a few weeks in 2005); James has scored at least 30 in seven of the past nine games. The Heat have won five straight and eight of nine to start making the Pacers sweat.
The Knicks have lost three straight and nine of 11. Six of those nine losses have been by five points or less or in overtime. Monday's really had to hurt. New York was down eight with 1:37 left to visiting Dallas before rallying to tie on Carmelo's 3-pointer with 50 seconds left, his 42nd, 43rd and 44th points of the night. The Mavs couldn't score on their next possession, and then in typical Knicks fashion they turned it back over on a shot clock violation when the Mavs were all over Anthony. Dirk Nowitzki then won it, with Anthony draped all over him, on an off-the-backboard, high-bounce 19-footer that even Nowitzki said was totally ugly. It's really a shame if you are a Knicks fan because that could have been the type of win to propel the team on a nice run. After cutting lose Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace on Monday, the Knicks are adding veterans Earl Clark and Shannon Brown to 10-day contracts.
The Knicks have been as good as anyone against the Heat in the regular season lately, winning four of the past six. They have split two at Madison Square Garden this year. New York won 102-92 on Jan. 9 behind 29 points from Anthony and 13 points and 14 assists from Felton. Neither Tyson Chandler nor J.R. Smith played in that one. Miami was without Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier. On the day before the Super Bowl, the Heat won 106-91, and really New York hasn't been the same since. That ended the Knicks' four-game winning streak.
New York Knicks at Miami Heat NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
According to odds from BetOnline, Miami opened as an 11-point favorite with a total of 202.5 The Knicks are 24-33 against the spread (13-13 on road) and 32-25 "over/under" (14-12 on road). The Heat are 25-28-1 ATS (9-16 at home) and 31-23 O/U (15-10 at home). New York is 9-4 ATS in its past 13 after an ATS loss. The Heat are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 after a win of at least 10 points. The over is 7-1 in New York's past eight road games. The under is 5-0 in Miami's past five against teams with a losing record. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-0 in the past four in Miami.
New York Knicks at Miami Heat Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
Do the Knicks have enough heart to put up a strong effort here, or are they ready to mail it in following Monday's crushing loss? I'm going to presume the latter. Perhaps New York should bench Smith here. The Knicks won that game without him against Miami and then were blown out with him when Smith had 20 points. I'm going to guess James struggles a bit with that mask on. Take the points and the over.
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