The Week That Was: New York Knicks
Coach Mike D’Antoni saw the same movie twice in the past week, with his team experiencing victory in one showing and defeat in the other. On Friday, Dec. 11, the Knicks – trailing the New Orleans Hornets by a slight margin heading into crunch time – scored 18 unanswered points in the final 4:57 to subdue Chris Paul’s crew by a 113-96 score. Four days later, on Dec. 15, the Knickerbockers would swallow the bitter pill they forced New Orleans to swallow. Leading 85-79 with 3:58 remaining in regulation, New York got outscored by Charlotte, 15-2, and dropped a 94-87 decision to coach Larry Brown’s Bobcats. As was the case in the New Orleans game, the final few minutes witnessed the complete disappearance of one team. It was as though the Knicks were so fascinated by New Orleans’ big fade that they decided to try out the act for themselves.
It’s not exactly a sports betting tip because it has long-accepted point of NBA wisdom that the final six minutes of a game are the only part that really matters, as long as the scoreboard margin is reasonable. The New York Knicks have re-discovered this truth over the past week. Now, they need to be more consistent finishers.
Thursday, December 17th – 8:00 PM ET
United Center – Chicago, IL
Bet Jamaica Review odds: Bulls -3
Chicago Bulls Week Recap
Compared to previous weeks, sportsbook odds makers know that the Chicago Bulls actually had a somewhat decent seven-day stretch. For one thing, they won a game. On Dec. 11, the Bulls topped Golden State in overtime, 96-91, thanks to an 18-point, 14-rebound effort from center Joakim Noah.
The Bulls’ other two games from the past week were losses, but Chicago actually displayed a reasonable amount of effort in both contests. The problem for coach Vinny Del Negro’s roster was that no one can score.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, the Bulls didn’t play their typical “matador defense.” Yes, the Boston Celtics dusted off Chicago by 26 points, but that was primarily the result of the Bulls’ meager 80-point total. The Celtics’ 106-80 win at the United Center turned into a yawner because the Bulls shot just 33 percent from the field.
A few nights later against the world champion Los Angeles Lakers, the Bulls competed with even more vigor on defense and held the Lakers to under 100 points. Yet, two quarters with fewer than 18 points doomed Chicago in a 96-87 loss. Expert sports handicapping sharps know that if this team can’t develop regular second and third scorers, it won’t get off the canvas.
Outlook & Sports Pick
The Bulls couldn’t hit the side of a barn against the Celtics and Lakers, but they at least showed that they can play for their coach when they put their minds to the task in front of them. That competitive integrity will be sorely tested in this game against the Knicks. Losing to Boston and the Lake Show can and will be forgiven, but dropping a home game to the Knicks just a week and a half after losing at home to the New Jersey Nets could very well be the last straw for Chicago management. If the Bulls lose here, the ax could fall on Del Negro. Desperation, then, should carry the Bulls to a home win, even though the Knicks are playing comparatively better basketball at the moment.
Sports betting pick: Chicago Bulls
Get your NBA swag discounted on Amazon.com now by clicking here