The New York Knicks (11-12) take on the San Antonio Spurs (8-14) this Tuesday evening. The Spurs pushed the Suns in a tight one last night, losing 108-104. The Knicks have lost three in a row, but the Spurs should be an easier opponent to deal with compared to the recent schedule. What about the NBA odds?
New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs
Tuesday, December 07, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at AT&T Center
The Knicks (10-13 ATS) are a 2.5-point favorite over the Spurs (13-9 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. The Spurs have the sixth-best spread record in the league this season. Can they upset the Knicks after nearly upsetting the Suns?
Knicks’ Losing Streak
The Knicks had that hot 5-1 start, but the team is just 6-11 since then. Coach Tom Thibodeau has his first three-game losing streak since the Knicks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Atlanta in June.
What’s gone wrong this year? The defense has fallen off and the offense is still too mediocre to carry the team. Last year, the Knicks allowed the fewest points per game, ranked third in defensive rating, and held opponents to a league-low 44.0% shooting from the field. This year, the Knicks are 17th in points per game allowed, 22nd in defensive rating, and fifth in opposing FG%.
The Knicks are 9-0 when they allow fewer than 104 points and 2-12 when they allow at least 104 points. It is hard to find a starker split in the league this year than that. The Knicks have allowed five teams to shoot better than 48% on them this year, and three of them are their last three games (all losses).
While the Knicks are ninth in 3P%, they are a streaky shooting team. The Knicks are 3-9 when they shoot under 35% from three, which is something they have done in each game on this losing streak. However, the Knicks had two of their best shooting games (two-point shots) of the season against the Nets and Bulls. They lost those games against superior teams by a combined six points.
The Knicks are coming off one of their worst performances of the season against Denver, a 113-99 loss on Saturday. They were outshot by 12.6 percentage points. The last time they shot that poorly, they rebounded with a 99-90 win in Atlanta 10 days ago.
New York has to figure out what rotation works for them. Kemba Walker is shooting 41.3% from three this year, but he’s only averaged 11.7 points per game and has been benched for the last four games. Julius Randle’s numbers are down across the board from his breakout season a year ago.
Spurs: The Last Five Games
A six-game losing streak set up the Spurs for another forgotten season at 4-13. However, the Spurs caught fire and won four in a row, upsetting the red-hot Warriors on Saturday in Golden State after holding Steph Curry to 7-of-28 shooting.
For an encore, the Spurs almost beat the red-hot Suns in Phoenix last night before losing 108-104. The Spurs led 33-26 after one quarter and were tied late in the fourth, but Chris Paul put the team away. Still, it was another fine performance for a team thought to be irrelevant this year.
Over the last five games, the Spurs rank No. 2 in net rating thanks to the No. 3 defensive rating. The problem on the season has been the offensive side of the ball where the Spurs rank 23rd in offensive rating and are behind the curve in today’s three-point shooting league.
The Spurs are the only team scoring more than 60% of their points from two-point territory. The Spurs attempt a league-low 31.3% of their field goals from three-point land. This wouldn’t be so bad if the Spurs also didn’t get a league-low 10.8% of their points from the free-throw line.
It's really not an exciting offense to watch as leading scorer Dejounte Murray (19.0 points per game) is the only player to average more than 15.0 points per game. But Derrick White has played well in recent games – last night excluded – and scored 25 points on the Warrior’s elite defense.
The Knicks got the extra day of rest while the Spurs played last night, but since 2020, the Spurs are 12-7 ATS playing on no rest. The Knicks are only 4-9 ATS this year as a favorite of at least 2.5 points. Neither team is particularly strong on either side of the court, but the Spurs are home, and Gregg Popovich can obviously still coach.
I am going to trust the team that just beat Golden State and nearly got Phoenix on the road too to cover for your NBA picks.
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