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The New York Knicks (7-8) eye their third straight win when they visit the Golden State Warriors (7-6) tonight in Oakland. The Knicks, who could get back to .500 on the season, are coming off a 91-84 victory over the Orlando Magic. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle were a two man wrecking crew for the Knicks, combining to score 43 points while grabbing 27 rebounds. Elfrid Payton, playing extended minutes in place of Alec Burks, scored 12 in the win.
Golden State played San Antonio late last night in the first game of a back-to-back. Prior to that game, the Warriors posted a big 115-113 win over the Lakers on MLK Day. Golden State trailed LeBron James and the Lakers for most of the game before taking their first leads with 2:40 left in the fourth period on a Draymond Green layup. That layup completed a rally from 14 points down early in the period. The Lakers had a chance at the buzzer, but James’s three pointer was off the mark. Steph Curry led the way with 26 points, while Eric Paschall scored 19 points and Andrew Wiggins had 18.
On the injury front, Knicks guard Alec Burks is questionable with an ankle injury. He missed New York’s last game against Orlando. Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins is also questionable with a knee injury.
Knicks Eye Third Straight Win
Slowly but surely, the New York Knicks are starting to turn their fortunes around. New York, who hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, have established a solid rotation buoyed by three of the league’s best young players in Julius Randle, JT Barrett, and Alec Burks. Randle has averaged 22.8 ppg, 11.0 rpb, and 6.1 apg this season, while JT Barrett has averaged 17.1 ppg and 7.6 rpg. Alec Burks, who has played in only three games this season, has averaged 20.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, and 3.7apg. In Burks’s absence, Elfrid Payton has gotten significant minutes, averaging 13.0 ppg.
Offensively, the Knicks are 27th in the NBA in effective field goal percent (50.0%), 19th in turnover percent (13.5%), 11th in offensive rebounding percent (23.4%), and 18th in free throws per field goal attempts (.185). Defensively, New York is 2nd in opponents effective field goal percent (50.1%), 25th in opponent turnover percent (11.6%), 25th in defensive rebounding percent (77.0%), and 13th in opponents free throws per field goal attempts (.184).
Warriors Poised to Break Out In the West
The Golden State Warriors have landed knockouts against two of the top Western Conference teams in the Lakers and Clippers. In both games, the Warriors were down big, and stormed back to take the win. With Steph Curry (28.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 6.2 apg), the Warriors are seemingly never out of the game. Draymond Green is starting to round into form after missing the first four games of the season. Reserves Andrew Wiggins (17.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Eric Paschall (12 ppg) lead the second unit.
Offensively, the Warriors are 22nd in the NBA in effective field goal percent (51.8%), 13th in turnover percent (12.9%), 29th in offensive rebounding percent (17.2%), and 6th in free throws per field goal attempts (.215). Defensively, Golden State is 10th in opponents effective field goal percent (52.5%), 8th in opponent turnover percent (13.9%), 27th in defensive rebounding percent (76.0%), and 29th in opponents free throws per field goal attempts (.240).
The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This should be a good game between two evenly matched teams. I like the Knicks simply because they will be playing on rest while Golden State will be playing the second of a back-to-back. The Warriors are 1-0 in their only other back-to-back game two this season, but those games can be more difficult. The injury status of Andrew Wiggins and Alec Burks will go a long way in determining the outcome of this one. If Wiggins plays and Burks does not, Golden State should win. If it’s the other way around, or if both play, I like the Knicks. Pay attention to any new injuries before making your pick.
New York Knicks
Full-Game Total Pick
The Knicks are a pretty good defensive team, but sometimes struggle offensively. If the Knicks are going to win, they will need to make the game “ugly” with a physical defense and an attacking style of offense. They certainly have the capability, especially if they are taking on tired legs. Since I like the Knicks to win, I’m taking the UNDER, which benefits them more than the OVER.