Knicks vs. Suns NBA Preview and Best Bet

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Phoenix Suns . Ge Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

The New York Knicks (37-29) will try to improve on a losing road record (15-18) by upsetting the Phoenix Suns (47-19) on Friday night. Phoenix was briefly on top of the Western Conference before losing to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night in what was the team’s worst performance of the season.

New York Knicks vs. Phoenix Suns

Friday, May 7, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Phoenix Suns Arena

Phoenix is a 6-point favorite at most NBA sportsbooks. The Knicks (42-23-1) and Suns (40-25-1) have the two best spread records in the league this season. These teams met not even two full weeks ago. Despite the Knicks leading for nearly 37 minutes of game time, the Suns closed better in the fourth quarter and won 118-110.

The Last Time

In the April 26 meeting, both teams shot over 51% from the field. The Suns were just a little better, led by star Devin Booker’s game-high 33 points. New York’s star, Julius Randle, had one of his not-so-rare rough shooting nights as he only made 6-of-17 field goals. Derrick Rose, who scored 22 points off the bench, was the only New York player to score more than 18 points. The Knicks led 36-29 after one quarter, but the game was tied going into the fourth quarter. Chris Paul had a fantastic finish for the Suns, burying his last three shots in the final 90 seconds to ice the game while the Knicks hurt themselves with careless turnovers.

The game ended a nine-game winning streak for the Knicks. It is only the second time in the last 26 games that the Knicks allowed 115 points in regulation. The Knicks lead the NBA in opponent FG% (44.2%), but the Suns (54.2%) had the fourth-best game against New York this season. The Suns still rank No. 2 in FG% (48.9%) behind only the Nets.

Recent Play

While expectations for a Lakers-Nets series in the NBA Finals are dwindling by the day due to injuries, a contender like the Suns had a serious hiccup on Wednesday in Atlanta after a very short-lived reign as the top seed in the Western Conference. The 135-103 loss was Phoenix’s worst margin of defeat and by far the worst net FG% (-21.3%) the team has had in any game this season.

The Suns allowed the Hawks to shoot 63.1% from the field and outscore them 68-38 in the second half. While Phoenix emptied the bench in the fourth quarter, the Suns still shot a pathetic 2-of-14 from the field in that final frame. Clearly, the team should be motivated to play much better on Friday night. Paul shot 3-of-11 and was a minus-26 in plus-minus, his worst game with the Suns. Booker is hot right now, averaging 30.6 points and shooting 53.5% from the field over his last seven games. It is not like the Suns were playing bad basketball going into Wednesday. The victory over the Knicks kicked off a five-game winning streak. Granted, the Suns started a three-game road trip with a 123-120 win over awful Oklahoma City and an overtime win against a bad Cleveland team, but those came on the heels of quality wins over the Knicks, Clippers, and Jazz.

After losing to the Suns, New York responded with a three-game winning streak before losing to the Nuggets 113-97 in Denver on Wednesday. New York only shot 38.4% from the field and missed nine free throws on a rough night. Randle missed all five of his three-point attempts. Denver blew the game open early with a 34-12 lead after one quarter. So, both teams are coming off very poor shooting performances.

For Randle in particular, he has been the definition of an inconsistent shooter. For the season, he shoots 46.1%, which is almost identical to the 46.0% he shot in his first season with the Knicks a year ago. That sounds consistent. However, when you break it down game-by-game for his last 10 games, Randle has been above 52% five times and below 40% five times. He has only shot between 40% and 50% (his career and season average) one time in his last 19 games. He is either hot or cold. The last two games for Randle have been cold shooting ones, so maybe he will bounce back on Friday night. It would be a good thing for the Knicks since they are 11-2 when he scores at least 30 points this season.

Prediction

With equal rest, the Knicks (20-9) and Suns (22-10-1) have the two best spread records in the NBA this season. Both teams have been excellent spread bets in most categories, but I prefer Phoenix playing at home. The Suns are 20-10 ATS as a home favorite, the third-best record in the NBA. Moreover, the Suns do an excellent job bouncing back after a loss. The Suns are 14-4 ATS following a loss this season, by far the best record. I trust Phoenix to bounce back again and cover the spread for my NBA picks this Friday night.

NBA Pick: Suns -6 (-110) at Bovada