Hawks vs. Knicks NBA Odds & Picks: New York Will Continue Its Run (April 21)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Julius Randle.
- The New York Knicks will go to battle against the Atlanta Hawks on the hardwood Wednesday night.
- The Knicks have been one of the hottest teams in all of basketball over the past couple of weeks, and Julius Randle has been leading it all with his stellar play down low.
- Check out Phillip Kall's full breakdown complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Hawks vs. Knicks Odds
|Moneyline||+110 / -130|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
With the clock winding down on the regular season, the battle for seeding in the Eastern Conference is intensifying.
Entering Tuesday night’s slate, Atlanta holds the fourth seed but is just two and a half games ahead of Charlotte for the eighth seed. The new rules placing the seventh- through 10th-seed teams in play-in games makes keeping a top-six spot even more important.
The Knicks are also a team in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff cluster as the sixth seed. New York has worked hard to get to this spot recently, too. It has won six straight, and the two losses before this run came by a total of four points.
This game carries a lot of leverage as the winner will boost itself while knocking one of its competitors for seeding down. Let’s look further to see which team walks away with a win and more and makes itself more secure in its playoff position.
The Hawks have been on a hot run similar to the Knicks, as they have won eight of their past 10.
The wins may keep coming, but unlike New York, the numbers may say they are doing better than expected. Atlanta’s Net Rating in its past 10 has been a respectable 5.6, per NBA.com. While this number is nothing to scoff at, it still sits just 10th in the NBA during that time.
Adding to the word of caution, all eight of Atlanta’s wins have come against teams at or below .500. Its two losses? You guessed it. Both came against teams over .500.
One point of optimism to the Hawks’ run, though, is that it came without their second-best scorer, John Collins. The player who would fill in the vacated scoring spot was Bogdan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic has fully taken advantage of all the opportunities, scoring 22.5 points per game on 50.9% shooting.
Defensively, during their 10 game run, the Hawks have stepped it up a notch. Their Defensive Rating has risen to rank 14, up from 23rd, on the year. This may not be anything to write home about, but it shows that as the moments are getting bigger, so are their efforts.
Against the Knicks’ tough defense, Atlanta will need all the help it can get. The return of Collins should help give its offense variety, but it will need Bogdan to continue looking as good as he has.
New York Knicks
New York has taken its game to a new level recently, as it’s 7-2 in its past nine. The Knicks have been barely escaping with wins either, as their Net Rating is up to 10.8 in those games, per NBA.com. Their defense continues to smother opponents, as its 105.6 Defensive Rating is at the top of the league in that span.
The big improvement for New York has come on the offensive end, though. On the year, New York’s Offensive Rating is 109.4, which sits way down at 22nd in the league. During this stretch, though, its Offensive Rating soared to 116.4, which ranks sixth. The difference has been its willingness to turn to the 3-point shot.
New York has shot well all year, making 38.0% of its 3s. However, it’s been reluctant to shoot from deep, taking a mere 29.4 per game. During their run, however, the Knicks are up to 41.8% from deep and 31.7 attempts per game.
The player leading this offensive revival has been Julius Randle. His 28.2 points per game in the past nine have him ranked ninth in that span. In addition to his scoring this year, Randle has rounded out his game and been a facilitator for the Knicks. He averages 6.1 assists per game on the year, which nearly doubles his 3.2 career average.
Facing the Hawks’ 23rd-ranked defense by Defensive Rating may be harder than it sounds, though. While on a whole it struggles, Atlanta’s defense guards the 3-point line very well, allowing a 3-point percentage of just 34.7%. New York will need its 3-point attack to overcome the tight defense to help it climb the East standings.
The Knicks’ recent run has helped them both gain victories and reward backers. During its nine-game run, New York is 9-0 against the spread. This has propelled it into a tie for the second-best record against the spread at 36-21-1.
A major factor for this game will be that both teams are on the second leg of back-to-backs. With minimal rest between games, a team that relies on defense should have the edge. An offensive-minded team will have the challenge of overcoming tired legs, particularly late in the game.
New York should bring the toughness and intense style expected of Tom Thibodeau-coached teams. Do not forget when Thibs had Jimmy Butler play 55 minutes on the first game of a back-to-back and 33 in the second, per basketball-reference.
With the Knicks also finding their offense recently, an alternative route to covering exists even if the defense does struggle.
Back the Knicks to continue their run and climb up the Eastern Conference playoff ladder.
Pick: Knicks -2 (Play to -4)
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