New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets (1/28 @ 5:30 PM EST)
Spread: PICK ‘EM
Money Line: Knicks -110 / Nets -110
Overview and Betting Info
The New York Knicks (27-23) will head across town to take on the Brooklyn Nets (29-19) for a marquee Saturday night matchup. These two teams met in November, with the Nets winning 112-85. The Nets are fourth in the East, while the Knicks sit seventh.
The Knicks are 26-22-2 against the spread this season, including going 17-8 on the road. They have gone over the total 25 times and have done so in three of their last four games.
The Nets are 23-24-1 versus the spread but have gone 8-12-1 at home. They’ve gone over the total 20 times, including in three of their last five games.
New York Knicks
The Knicks come into Saturday after an impressive overtime win at Boston. It’s their second straight win against a team above them in the standings, signaling that things may be turning around for this team. The sudden hot streak comes at a perfect time, as they lost their previous four games to some bad teams. While their scoring appears to be improving, the Knicks still ranks 25th in the NBA in field goal (41.2%) and three-point percentage (34.5%). Though they are dead last in steals, their success has come from their defense and physical play. The Knicks are 3rd in the league in rebounds (48.7 RPG) and 2nd in opposing field goal percentage (44.7%).
They are led by a trio of stars in Julius Randle (24.8 PPG, 10.9 RPG), Jalen Brunson (22.4 PPG, 6.3 APG, 1.0 SPG), and RJ Barrett (20.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG). Randle is their leading scorer and their top option on offense. The forward is physical and is excellent down low, but he also is a solid three points shooter (34.6 3PT%). He is coming off a win where he scored 37 points and nine rebounds. While Randle shoots the most from deep, Brunson is New York’s best shooter, making an impressive 40.2% of his attempts from three. The guard has been a fantastic addition to the Knicks and seems to improve as the season progresses. He’s been on fire in 2023, averaging 28.3 points and making 47.8% of his threes. He’s been a massive reason for their success and will play a key role Saturday as he works against Kyrie Irving. Barrett is a streaky shooter but can go for 30 points on any given night. When all three are healthy and playing, this Knicks team can play with anybody.
The Knicks have a solid group of role players, led by Immanuel Quickley (12.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG) and Quentin Jones (10.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG). Both are talented shooters who can score when needed, especially from three. One area we will be watching is their frontcourt, as Mitchell Robinson remains out for the foreseeable future with a fractured thumb. That means the Knicks will again have to turn to Jericho Sims (3.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG) and Isaiah Hartenstein (4.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG). While neither is a scorer, they both are physical big men and talented rebounders, which helps make up for the loss of Robinson. Sims is expected to get the starting nod again on Saturday after finishing with 14 rebounds against the Celtics on Thursday. Keep an eye on Obi Toppin as well. Despite a lack of playing time, he has been a great three-point shooter off the bench, making 37.2% of his attempts.
After a crucial 12-game win streak brought the Nets back to the top of the East, they lost Kevin Durant to an MCL sprain and have now lost six of their last eight games. Things may be getting worse now as Ben Simmons has reaggravated a knee injury and was pulled from their 130-122 loss against the Pistons on Thursday. Despite being 15th in the NBA in scoring (114.3 PPG), they have the best field goal percentage in the league (50.9%) and are 2nd in three-point percentage (39%). They are 29th in rebounding (40.4 RPG), which is an issue, but their defense has been fantastic. They lead the league in blocks (6.9 BPG), are 3rd in opponent field goal percentage (45.3%), and 7th in points allowing (111.6 PPG). They have been vulnerable against the three, ranking 24th, allowing opponents to shoot 36.8% from deep.
With Durant still out, the Nets rely on Kyrie Irving (27.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.0 SPG) and Ben Simmons (7.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.4 SPG). Irving is having an incredible season after a tumultuous first two years in Brooklyn. He’s been on fire over his last five games, averaging 37.2 points and making 48% of his three-point attempts. Unfortunately, Simmons has been heading in the opposite direction. His defense remains strong, but his lack of scoring is becoming more of an issue with Durant sidelined. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but information about his status has been limited. Even with Simmons struggling, his absence would be a massive blow to the Nets.
The Nets stars are joined by a young and talented big man in Nic Claxton (13.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.7 BPG). Claxton leads the NBA in blocks and has taken a big step forward in his fourth season. He, too, has been incredible with Durant out, hitting 73.5% of his shots in January and averaging 23.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. He went for 27 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks on Thursday. The Nets also have Royce O’Neale (9.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.0 APG) starting, but his scoring is down in January, thanks to his 30% three-point percentage. If he isn’t hitting threes, O’Neale’s value drastically decreases. Keep an on Seth Curry, who is questionable to play Saturday. He’s been dealing with injuries and trade rumors, but he’s averaging 16.4 points this month and hitting 50% of his three-point attempts. He’s coming off a game against the Sixers where he hit seven three-pointers en route to a 32-point night.
Free Pick: Knicks ML -110
Durant has been the key to the Nets’ success since he arrived in Brooklyn. He’s had to support the team by himself often as Simmons and Irving deal with off-the-court issues. The Nets’ recent cold streak shows how much they miss him, and we don’t see that changing on Saturday. With Durant out, Randle will have more freedom on both ends of the court and should be in for another big night. While Claxton is a force down low, the combination of Sims and Hartenstein should be enough to contain him. If Curry doesn’t play, the Nets won’t have the scoring they need to get past a good Knicks defense. If he does, we still believe the Nets’ struggles against the three cost them.
With home court being a non-factor, we see the Knicks handling the Nets reasonably efficiently, making this an easy choice. We’re rolling with the Knicks money line on Saturday.