Nets vs. Knicks Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
A matchup that seemed like it would have all the intrigue in the world months ago will take place on Wednesday with rather deflating circumstances. The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks will meet in primetime at Madison Square Garden. With big names out on both sides of the ball, is there any value to be found in this matchup?
Let’s get into what we’ve got on our hands in New York.
Can Brooklyn’s Role Players Perform Like Stars?
The Nets made a huge trade last week to assemble a new “Big 3,” or Big 2.5, as it were. The issue is that none of those guys will be able to suit up on Wednesday, nor will Joe Harris, who remains out with an ankle injury.
In essence, this means Brooklyn’s four best players will be absent when it takes on its in-city rival.
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What’s evident about this Brooklyn group is that it simply cannot play defense at the moment. Over the past two weeks, it ranks 25th in defensive rating, allowing more than 116 points per 100 possessions. It also simply can’t win, losing 11 of its last 12 games and snapping out of the slide with a win over the lowly Kings on Monday.
Brooklyn did get Seth Curry for that game — one of the main returns in the James Harden deal — and Curry led the way with 23 points. Andre Drummond, who also came over from Philly, was able to give the Nets 11 points and nine boards in 24 minutes. It’s certainly not a coincidence that these two arrived and things got better, but it’s important to recognize this win came over Sacramento.
Knicks Are the Model of Inconsistency
If the Nets are an abomination on defense, then so are the Knicks. In that same two week span, New York ranks a spot behind Brooklyn (26th) with 116.8 points allowed per 100 possessions. It’s quite the turnaround for the Knicks, considering they were one of the best defensive units in the league from Christmas Day until mid-January, which sparked a turnaround.
Speaking of turnarounds, the Knicks could really use one right about now. They’ve won just three times in the last 12 games, though one did come against the mighty Warriors last week.
While the schedule has been daunting for the Knicks — with losses to teams like the Cavaliers, Heat, Bucks, Grizzlies, Jazz and Nuggets over this span — the last two games have been incredibly winnable. The Knicks blew leads against the Trail Blazers and the Thunder, struggling to win outright as a 10.5-point favorite against Oklahoma City.
That makes covering against a Nets team that looks improved a tall task. If it’s any consolation, the Knicks are actually 16-15 against the spread (ATS) as favorites this year, which is one of the rare spots where they’re above .500 ATS. In all games, they’re covering at just a 44.8% rate.
Very notably, RJ Barrett will be missing from this game, which means the Knicks won’t pack as big of a punch on both ends of the floor from the wings. That makes four stars combined that will miss this one.
Both of these teams have struggled on the defensive end of late, but the one thing the Knicks have going for them is Mitchell Robinson. Throughout the losing streak, the big man has been a revelation and has provided some stellar defensive work inside.
It’s not as if the Nets have a super-skilled big man who is providing a lot of offense, but they have done a lot of scoring from two-point range. Brooklyn was just 9-of-36 from deep against Sacramento, focusing on driving in against a weak frontcourt to score at the basket. LaMarcus Aldridge also had a huge 19 points off the bench and will likely run into some adversity.
Brooklyn is slightly overvalued coming off a win against a bottom-five team. The Nets should come back down to Earth against a slightly-better Knicks team.
Pick: Knicks -3.5 (-110)