Two teams mired in disappointing seasons face off in New York tonight. The season is still early and there is still a chance to turn things around. Which team will take advantage of this opportunity and be the right NBA pick? Keep reading to cash out at BMR’s top-rated books.
Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks
Tuesday, January 04, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at Madison Square Garden
The Pacers' season of disappointment has resulted in trade talks swirling around this team. The Pacers were expected to make the next leap into playoff contention by adding head coach Rick Carlisle, but the opposite has happened.
At 17-23, the Pacers' frustration is mounting and multiple players have requested a trade out of the organization. While the team has yet to make a move, it seems like the logical next step for this franchise mired in mediocrity.
To be fair to the Pacers, they have struggled with injuries this season. Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, Malcolm Brogdon have all missed significant time this season, leading to a patchwork lineup. Tonight will be no different for the Pacers, as a COVID-19 outbreak has drastically weakened the lineup.
Goga Bitadze, Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Caris LeVert, Kelan Martin, are all on the COVID-19 protocols list. T.J. McConnell is out with an injured wrist. T.J. Warren has yet to play a game for the Pacers this season. Once again the Pacers will field a depleted, diminished roster.
The play of Domantas Sabonis has been a bright spot for the Pacers this season. Sabonis is averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Sabonis is an excellent scorer inside the paint and outside shooting jumpers.
If the Pacers do decide to blow it up, he will be an attractive trade option. The offense runs through Sabonis, and the Pacers will be relying on him to have a big night in order to be competitive.
Myles Turner leads the NBA with 2.8 blocks per game. Turner is also an impressive 37% from the field, making him an attractive "stretch 5" option. Turner and Sabonis have not always meshed personality-wise, but their results on the court show them together to be the Pacers' best lineup option.
The Pacers are reliant on Turner's rim protection, and when he's out of the game, the defense is markedly deficient.
New York Knicks
The Knicks were also another team looking to make a leap in relevance but have been struggling to stay in playoff contention. The Knicks are a disappointing 17-20. They are struggling to find an identity.
Last year the Knicks were a defensive stalwart. Unfortunately, in an attempt to improve their offense, the defense has suffered. They are proving the idea that it is better to be elite at one thing and terrible at others than to be average at everything.
Without the Knicks playing defense at an elite level, their ability to win games has declined drastically.
Julius Randle leads the Knicks at 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Randle is a good player, although this season's struggles have led observers to wonder if he is truly a true number one option on a contending team.
While Randle has played well, he has not made the next step to all-star level play that the Knicks would have hoped. Randle's jump-shooting can be inconsistent, combined with poor shot selection, he is a streaky player that the Knicks cannot always rely on. The Knicks will be without Julius Randle tonight due to COVID protocols.
The Knicks are not without drama this season either, as head coach Tom Thibodeau benched Kemba Walker and blamed him for the Knicks' poor defensive play. Kemba was forced back in the lineup with an ankle injury to Derrick Rose.
Kemba responded well, including a triple-double on Christmas Day that delighted the fans of the Garden. Walker has a knee injury and is questionable for tonight's game.
Domantas Sabonis vs. Taj Gibson
Even if Nerlens Noel plays, Taj Gibson will have a heavy amount of defensive duties against Sabonis. Gibson is a versatile player but is mainly known for his tenacity, rebounding, and defensive prowess.
If Gibson is able to shut down Sabonis and turn this into a slogging defensive game, the Knicks have a great chance to win. If Sabonis has a big night offensively, it'll be tough for the Knicks to keep pace with his offensive brilliance.
The Pacers have too many back-court absences to consider betting them at this time. The Knicks are missing players as well, but not all are clustered at the same position of the primary ball-handler.
The Knicks will use this opportunity to display their new commitment to last year’s defensive identity. The Pacers are in a terrible spot but we as bettors can take advantage of their misfortune. For your best bets, take the Knicks.
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