Editor’s Note: The New York Knicks have announced that Julius Randle will sit out Tuesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks due to a quad injury. For real-time updates to these lineups, check out our FantasyLabs NBA news page.
Hawks vs. Knicks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Hawks have had a disappointing follow-up to their Eastern Conference Finals appearance, sitting with a below-.500 record in late March and likely heading to the Play-In Tournament. They take on the Knicks, who have struggled mightily all season and are destined to view the playoffs from their couches.
Is there an edge in this matchup? Let’s break it down.
Hawks All Offense, No Defense
The Hawks are dealing with a few players on the injury report. John Collins is out with finger and foot injuries and Lou Williams is out for personal reasons. The Hawks have also listed Bogdan Bogdanovic as questionable for this game with a quad injury.
The Hawks have been an offensive powerhouse this season, but they’ve struggled to overcome their defensive shortcomings. They have the second-best Adjusted Offensive Rating (115.2), but the fourth-worst Adjusted Defensive Rating (114.3), and this leads them to a middle-of-the-road Adjusted Net Rating of +0.8, which is 14th in the league.
If we look at the last two weeks this has regulated a bit — Atlanta is 11th in offense and 14th in defense, per Cleaning the Glass.
The problem for Atlanta is obviously its defense. Although the Hawks’ recent form is slightly better, they generally haven’t been able to stop anyone in either the half-court or in transition.
This is truly problematic because they allow the second-most points per 100 transition plays (133.3) and their opponents are able to get out in transition at an above league average rate, per Cleaning the Glass.
When opponents push the pace against the Hawks and attack them in transition, in particular off rebounds, they struggle to defend.
Knicks Can Score Against Bad Defenses
The Knicks have struggled to find a groove all year and much of this is due to the lack of a true point guard. Derrick Rose has missed the bulk of the season and Kemba Walker has also struggled with injuries (we won’t even get into Westchester Knicks stud Deuce McBride). Aside from those two, the Knicks will be without both Nerlens Noel and Cam Reddish for this contest.
The Knicks have played decent defense this season, but the offense is abysmal — essentially the opposite problem from the Hawks. The Knicks are 12th in Adjusted Defense at 110.4, but 23rd in Adjusted Offense (109.4) with an Adjusted Net of -1.0, which is 21st in the league. To put it plainly, they have been a pretty bad basketball team.
That being said, they’ve actually handled business against poor defensive teams — probably because those are the only teams they can score against. In games against the bottom-10 defenses in the league, the Knicks are 16-9 straight-up and are scoring 113.8 points per 100 possessions compared to 110.2 points per 100 on the season.
This has led them to a +6.3 point differential in these games. News flash: Atlanta is one of these teams and the Knicks have taken all three of their games against each other this season.
This matchup looked exciting at the beginning of the season — now, it seems like a disappointment. Both of these teams have failed to live up to their expectations, but I think the Knicks are a bit undervalued here.
Considering their success against Atlanta on the season, and Atlanta’s defensive inefficiencies, the Knicks should be able to score. Atlanta’s offense can obviously carry them, but Trae Young has been a bit banged up and he missed one game last week with a quad injury. If he’s not in form, Atlanta likely will struggle offensively.
The Knicks still have some pride, and they will not lay down in this game despite being out of the playoff picture. I’ll trust the Knicks to defend home court against the Hawks and make a push to complete the season sweep against Atlanta.
Pick: Knicks +2.5 and sprinkle the moneyline