Cheesy clichés aside, this is a matchup that could be a trap game for the Knicks if they don’t take it seriously. New York wants to head into the All-Star break coming off a win, so beating an injury-plagued Hawks team is a must.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: Wednesday, February 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Not Nationally Televised
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Listen: ESPN Radio
Betting Line: Covers
Over/Under: 186.5, Spread: New York -6.5
I have the score in this game going over—and fairly easily so. With the Knicks getting Carmelo Anthony back from injury and the team trying to work things out, I understand the skepticism, but the Hawks don’t play great defense. Add in the fact that they are missing two of their best players this has "track meet" written all over it. New York covers the spread easy.
Injuries: via CBS Sports
Jason Collins, Out until at least late March
Al Horford, Out until at least mid-April
Joe Johnson, Out until at least Feb. 29 vs. Golden State
New York Knicks
Josh Harrellson, Out until at least early March
Iman Shumpert, Questionable for Feb. 22 vs. Atlanta
Bill Walker, Questionable for Feb. 22 vs. Atlanta
What They’re Saying
Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni told the New York Post:
“It will be interesting, that’s for sure. With this short season, we’re trying to get the team right. If we have everybody in the right situation and comfortable, we’re going to be good. You hate to do it, but look at who we’re bringing in. We’re bringing in four guys who could be four of our top eight guys. That’s hard to do at this stage.”
Key Matchup: Jeremy Lin vs. Jeff Teague
The New York Knicks offense is run through Jeremy Lin, so the production of both Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony falls on his shoulders. With a solid defender in Jeff Teague likely fielding the task of guarding Lin, how the Knicks point man responds will be the difference on Wednesday.
I'm guessing that Lin will walk away with another double-double: 13 points and 13 assists to go with just four turnovers.
Final Prediction: Knicks 107, Hawks 94
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