Knicks vs. Clippers Preview: Back LA at Home

Kenny Ducey previews Sunday's Knicks vs. Clippers matchup and shares his best bet.

Knicks vs. Clippers Odds

Knicks Odds +4.5
Clippers Odds -4.5
Over/Under 220
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

After a nice showing in Phoenix, the Knicks will travel to Los Angeles where the Clippers will be waiting to exact some revenge.

The Knicks beat the Clippers 110-102 in their last meeting on January 23rd at Madison Square Garden, but can we learn anything from this Knicks win? Let’s go through this matchup by the numbers.

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Knicks in a Downward Spiral

The Knicks are a nightmare right now. They’ve lost seven straight and 17 of their last 20 dating back to mid-January. They’ve only covered in two of their last 10. The nice thing here, though, is that New York did cover last time out in a loss to Phoenix and has also led at the half in five of its last seven games. That’s correlated to a 6-1 record against the spread in the first half over that span.

It’s pretty difficult to figure out which side of the floor has treated the Knicks more poorly. They rank 28th in the league with 117.1 points allowed per 100 possessions since the start of February and 25th in Offensive Efficiency. Their frontcourt is probably the only thing working right now, backed up by the fact that Mitchell Robinson continues to dominate opposing bigs when he’s out there (held Deandre Ayton to eight points last time out) and also by New York’s 10th-best Rebounding Rate since Feb. 1.

That might prove to be valuable against a Clippers team which ranks seventh in rebounding the ball during the same time and will likely turn to Marcus Morris for the bulk of the scoring. We’ll get to this game in a moment, but the last time these two sides met, the Knicks actually held him to 0-9 from the field. That will be a story to watch.

Clippers Continuing to Find Ways to Win

The song remains the same for the Clippers, who continue plugging away without several key players on the floor due to injury. Though Norman Powell’s initial contributions to this team were downright impressive, L.A. has gone on a run in the seven games since he broke his foot, winning six of them — and covering in each game.

One of the few teams that had success against the Clippers over the past month and a half is the Knicks, who beat them at home in New York on Jan. 23 by a commanding eight points. The Knicks shot 44.4% from three in that game, and Julius Randle had an efficient 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting.

The defense likely stands a better chance this time around, considering L.A. ranks 10th in points allowed per 100 possessions since the start of February. That speaks directly to the impact Robert Covington brought to this team when he came over from Portland with Norman Powell.

While we can talk about Covington’s defensive impact all we want, we also have to appreciate how deep this team is. Even Nic Batum and Ivica Zubac can be the nail in your proverbial coffin, and there is no telling just how L.A. is going to beat you on a given night with a variety of players like Terance Mann, Reggie Jackson or Luke Kennard. The Clippers are an incredibly difficult team to gameplan for.

Knicks-Clippers Pick

As hot on the Knicks first half as I’ve been, and as well as they’ve competed against some of the league’s best teams, I’m still not ready to put my faith in them here in what is a pretty adverse scenario.

We’ve seen Tom Thibodeau exposed in his second year with the Knicks, declining to make adjustments and getting out-coached by many in the league. Lue should be one of those coaches, making the necessary adjustments here to see his team through.

As well as the Knicks have defended in the post, I find it hard to believe Morris would be held without a basket like he was the last time these two teams met.  We also shouldn’t expect the Knicks to shoot over 44% from three again, considering the Clippers have excelled on the defensive end lately and for the season rank fourth-best in 3-point defense.

I’m very comfortable laying the 4.5 points here and would play as high as 5.5.

Pick: Clippers -4.5 (-110)