Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks (11/2 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Overview and Betting Info
We’ll see a matchup of two Eastern Conference playoff contenders Wednesday night, with the Atlanta Hawks (4-3) coming to Madison Square Garden for a matchup with the New York Knicks (3-3). In their final meeting last season, the Hawks broke a seven-game losing streak against the Knicks and will be looking to build on that Wednesday night. This will be the Hawk’s fifth consecutive road game, and they’ll be looking to hand New York their first home loss.
Atlanta is 2-4 against the spread this season, going 1-2 on the road. They’ve gone over the point total in their last five games.
New York is 3-2 against the spread, going 2-1 at home. They’ve gone over the point total in four of their last five games.
The Hawks’ backcourt got a huge addition in the offseason with Dejounte Murray. The former Spurs star has been an efficient scorer, hitting 45% of his shots from the field and 40% from three. He’s averaging 20 points and has gone for 20+ points in his previous three games. Murray joins the electric Trae Young to form one of the top 5 backcourts in the NBA. Trae has been great again, averaging 29 points per game with nine assists. The two complement each other well and should only improve as the season progresses.
The Atlanta frontcourt has had offensive success this season, thanks to production from De’Andre Hunter (14 PPG) and John Collins (13.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG). Their success, combined with the explosive frontcourt, has helped make the Hawks one of the most efficient scoring teams in the league. Unfortunately, this unit has struggled on the defensive end. Despite having defensive stalwart Clint Capela starting at center, they’ve allowed opposing big men to feast all season. If you look at their three losses, you’ll see they were burned by Giannis (34 pts, 17 Reb), Brook Lopez (21 pts), Pascal Siakim (31 pts, 12 rebs), and Nick Richardson (20 pts in 20 minutes). Giving up big days to Siakim and Giannis is understandable, but Lopez and Richardson make this a disturbing trend. We’ll be watching third-year center Onyeka Okongwu in particular, as he could be a solution to this problem. He’s played well this season and may find himself with an uptick in minutes against the Knicks.
New York Knicks
The Knick’s backcourt retuned shooting guard RJ Barrett and upgraded at point guard by adding Jalen Brunson. The former Mav is off to a great start, averaging 18 points and seven assists. He’s making 47% of his shots and is the perfect complement for the streaky Barrett. They are backed up by a couple of three-point shooters in Evan Fournier and Immanuel Quickley, making them a unit that can score in bunches and support Julius Randle and the frontcourt.
Julius Randle leads a deep Knicks frontcourt and has started the season averaging 18.3 points and nine rebounds per game. After a strong start, his offense has struggled recently. He’s only hitting 35% of his shots over his last three games, which has led to two losses and an overtime win against the Hornets. Despite his offensive struggles, he’s combined with centers Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein to make the Knicks the second-best rebounding team in the NBA. Combine that with shooters Cam Reddish (Game time decision) and Obi Toppin, and you have a backcourt that can hurt you in many ways. If Reddish can’t go Wednesday, Toppin could be in for a big night at the Garden.
Free Pick: Over 228.5
There are two big reasons we love the over here, the first being Trae Young. He’s already established himself as a player who thrives on the big stage, scoring 45 points on 52% shooting on his last trip to Madison Square Garden. With the addition of Murray, we see him replicating this performance Wednesday. It’s also worth noting that he was completely shut down by Toronto on Monday, leading to a total of ten turnovers. It’s hard to contain a player of Trae’s caliber, and it just doesn’t happen in back-to-back games.
On the other side, the Knicks should have a big day down low. Randle should have his first signature game of the season against a defense that Nick Richardson dominated. Add that to the play of Brunson and Barrett, and you have a team that’s likely to score over 130 points at home. They’ve achieved that in two of their three home games, and we think it will happen again Wednesday. That’s why we’re rolling with the over for this one.