Knicks vs. Nets Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
A rivalry will be renewed at the Barclays Center on Monday night in what could be the most entertaining meeting between the Knicks and Nets. Rarely — if ever — have both teams been squarely in the playoff mix when they met, and both will enter with the expectation of victory.
With New York making a massive shakeup on Monday, its defense should improve and could lead to a slow, low-scoring battle on Tuesday. Let’s get into how to bet this one.
Lineup Shakeup Good New For New York
The most shocking news of the day on Monday came out of New York, where Kemba Walker — an All-Star just two seasons ago and the recipient of a two-year, $18 million deal over the offseason — was removed entirely from the Knicks rotation. Tom Thibodeau announced that Walker would only be removed from the starting lineup and replaced by Alec Burks, but would just sit entirely in what a bold, but necessary move.
In 24.5 minutes per game, Walker was averaging just 11.7 points, which was pretty telling considering his above-average shooting numbers. He was struggling to find a way to impact play on that end, and on defense he was a major liability. The Knicks are being beaten by 13.3 points per 100 possessions with Walker on the floor this year, according to NBA.com, and in the non-Walker minutes they are beating opponents by 11.2 points per 100 possessions. With so many effective options like Burks or second-year guard Immanuel Quickley, it makes perfect sense that the Knicks would pull the plug on Walker.
It couldn’t come a moment sooner, either. The Knicks have begun to flounder with a 3-3 record straight-up in the last six games and a 3-6 record against the spread in the last nine. The only thing consistent about this team has been its disappointing offense, which has been the driving force behind nine of their last 10 games going under.
Given the splits on Walker, there’s at least some optimism here that a shakeup in the rotation could bear fruit for Thibodeau. Time will tell.
Nets’ Defense Has Been Solid
On the total opposite end of the spectrum, the Nets have really begun to kick it into full gear. They’ve won seven of their last nine, with the one critique being that they’re just 3-6 against the spread in those games. They’re also coming off a loss to the Suns in a game where they fought to the bitter end, cutting a massive deficit of more than 20 points down to single digits and eventually losing by six.
The Nets also made some headlines on Monday with a rotation change, though it was not planned. It was announced that Joe Harris would miss multiple weeks due to injury, meaning we are about to see a lot of Patty Mills. Brooklyn has actually been 4.6 points better per 100 possessions this year without Harris, but it ill surely miss his shooting and the gap in the on/off splits isn’t nearly as big as that of Walker.
In the past nine games, the Nets have thrived from downtown with the fourth-best three-point percentage in the league, though offensively they rank just 13th. They’ve really made their mark on the defensive side of the ball, allowing the sixth-fewest points per 100 possessions in that span.
It has been all about the play on the perimeter so far this year for the Nets, who have attempted the fewest field goals per game inside of 10 feet, according to NBA.com. That makes the loss of Harris sting just a tad, and sets up for an interesting game here against their in-city rivals.
This has all the makings of a rock fight. Two rivals that have played chippy games in the past should meet in a very physical basketball game, and one that should be played at a slow speed considering the Knicks’ 25th-ranked pace over the last nine games.
New York’s defense should receive a massive upgrade in the backcourt with the benching of Walker, and as we examined with the Nets, that is where defense really matters against this team. We know the Knicks to be a team which struggles on defense, and that should be very true against a stout Brooklyn team on that end.
I like the under here and would play it down a couple of points. New York come up short of the total for a 10th time in 11 outings.
Pick: Under 217 (-115)