Knicks vs. Suns NBA Pick
The Knicks, playing their best basketball of the season, visit the Suns on Friday. What’s the right NBA pick for this game?
New York Knicks (10-24) vs. Phoenix Suns (13-21)
Friday, January 3 at 9:00 PM ET, Talking Stick Resort Arena
Knicks Go for First Four-Game Winning Streak in Four Years
Carmelo Anthony had a season-high 26 points in his return to Madison Square Garden last Wednesday but the Knicks still crushed the Trail Blazers 117-93. Julius Randle was dominant with 22 points and 13 rebounds, Mitchell Robinson added 22 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench and Marcus Morris Sr. had another solid effort with 18 points and seven rebounds.
RJ Barrett (minus-3.6 Offensive Box/Plus-Minus) had just seven points on 3 of 12 shooting in 25 minutes and the Knicks need better production from him if they want to keep up with the Suns. Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller has a decent roster at his disposal, they may not have a superstar but this team has many talented players with a lot to prove and they’re way better than people think. Miller seems to have figured out how to put the pieces together and even if they lose against the Suns, they will go down fighting.
Suns Came from Behind to Cover Against Lakers
The Suns were down by as many as 36 points against the Lakers last Wednesday but they displayed resilience and lost 117-107, covering +11.5. I had the Suns +11.5 in that game and a Deandre Ayton bucket with 15 seconds left helped me cash my bet. The Suns also came from behind against the Trail Blazers last Monday. They erased a 19-point deficit and outscored them 39-27 in the fourth quarter. Why they keep falling behind early concerns me for this game. They are favored by seven points at home tonight and covering that spread will be hard if they keep having to make big comebacks.
Devin Booker keeps playing at a high level. He led the way against the Lakers with 32 points and seven assists but he had six turnovers. He has to take better care of the ball against the Knicks. Kelly Oubre Jr. embraced his role as a secondary scorer, adding 26 points and six rebounds in 36 minutes but Ricky Rubio had a quiet night with just six points on 2 of 7 shooting. He did have nine assists. Rubio has to play a lot better if the Suns want to beat the Knicks comfortably.
Betting Trends and Prediction
The New York Knicks are:
5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win
5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up win
5-1 ATS in their last six games against a team with a losing straight up record
5-1 ATS in their last six road games
The Phoenix Suns are:
4-9 ATS in their last 13 Friday games
2-6 ATS in their last eight games as a favorite
1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games against a team with a losing road record
1-4 ATS in their last five games as a home favorite
Deandre Ayton (plus-0.3 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) saved Suns +11.5 bettors last Wednesday. He finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench and he will have to really step up on defense tonight. Ayton will have his hands full with Mitchell Robinson (plus-2.3 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and Julius Randle (plus-0.7 Offensive Box Plus/Minus).
Robinson and Randle have played very well in New York’s three-game winning streak and the deep Knicks bench that features Robinson, Bobby Portis (17 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes against the Trail Blazers), Frank Ntilikina (nine points in 23 minutes against the Trail Blazers) and Reggie Bullock (11 points in 15 minutes against the Trail Blazers) is another reason why I like the Knicks to keep this game close.