The New York Knicks look for a fourth straight victory when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
Don’t look now, but the Knicks are 18-17 and sit at fourth place in the Eastern Conference in the month of March. The play of Julius Randle and the veteran leadership from Derrick Rose mixed in with stellar play from rookies Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin has the Knicks as a top 10 team in the NBA. This is even with defensive anchor Mitchell Robinson missing basically the rest of the season with a fractured hand.
The Spurs are having the best season yet since the departure of Kawhi Leonard. Sitting at 17-13 and in sixth in the Western Conference, the Spurs got there through gritty play, winning close games and are doing these things without an All-Star this season.
DeMar DeRozan continues to be an underrated star shadowed by the rest of the talent in the West.
Knicks betting preview: Defense wins games
The Knicks are over .500 in March for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They got there through incredible leadership and play from Randle, who is averaging 24 points and 12 rebounds a game.
Quickley does stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, like pick players up when they’re down, hustle for every possession and hit clutch free throws. Also, with a stellar defense, which ranks number one in the NBA and the number 10 offense in the league, the Knicks are getting hot at the right time.
The Knicks are also a top five team against the spread this season with a record of 20-15, which means they cover over 57% of the time. The Knicks have also won three straight games and four of their last five total.
The Knicks’ first All-Star since Carmelo Anthony in 2012-13, Randle has shown that no matter what situation you’re thrown into, if you play your heart out every night and inspire your teammates to do the same, then good things can and will happen.
Spurs betting preview: Best since 2017
The Spurs have won four of their last five games and covered the spread in three of those four wins. DeRozan not being an All-Star might be a blessing in disguise, as he will play better to prove the doubters wrong yet again.
DeRozan is anchoring this Spurs team, averaging 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds per game this season, with the team’s other starting guard, Derrick White, sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Spurs’ against-the-spread record is fourth in the league, just one spot in front of the Knicks, whose against-the-spread record is the same as their regular record at 17-12. The Spurs’ defensive rating of 109.5 ranks ninth in the NBA to go along with their offensive rating of 109.8, which is 20th in the NBA.
This should be a close matchup with two red-hot teams with both fanbases longing for something to cheer about other than a lottery pick.
Odds and Pick
The Spurs are favored by 1.5 points in this contest with the over/under set at 216.5.
This one is going to be close, so my free pick of the night is the over of 216.5.
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