The San Antonio Spurs are in the Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening. These two teams are coming off of losses to start the second half of the season. The Spurs lost a devastating game to the Toronto Raptors on road on Friday night, while the Knicks dropped to the KAT-less Timberwolves. These two teams are headed in different directions and it shows in the 9-point line in favor of the Spurs on the road. LaMarcus Aldridge is listed as probable for this game with an illness. This would suggest he plays, but I could see a world where Pop tries to give LMA a rest on a Sunday against a bad team off of the break. I expect Aldridge to play, but I am not as confident as I am with most “probable” listings.
Spurs Need to Get Back on Track
The Spurs have lost 4 of their last 5 games, all of which were on the road. Their lone win in these five games was a 1 point win over the Grizzlies after they traded Gasol and Conley was out. I think that is safe to call a rough performance, even in a win. Heck, Avery Bradley scored 33 points. I didn’t even think that was possible. The other 4 losses were to the Raptors, Blazers, Jazz, and Warriors, all of which are good teams and not horrible losses. The Spurs would have likely taken a 2-3 stretch in those 5 games, but 1-4 makes it a pretty rough stretch. The good news for the Spurs is that they likely will be getting starting point guard, Derrick White back in the lineup for this game, which is great for their offense, as it allows DeRozan to move off the ball more often.
Knicks With Top Pick Chance
The Knicks have also lost 4 of their last 5 with their only win coming off another bad team in the Hawks. The Knicks four losses came to the T-Wolves, 76ers, Cavs (OUCH), and Raptors. This Knicks team will be without DeAndre Jordan in this game, which should open up more time for Mitchell Robison, Luke Kornet, and Noah Vonleh. I expect Robinson to get the start vs. the Spurs, which should be a great opportunity for him to show off his skills. Robinson is an athletic freak and I really think this is a good spot for him. San Antonio has skilled big men, but none are quite like him, especially if LMA starts at the 5. I expect Robinson to get a few blocks in this game and have one of the best games of his young career. Emmanuel Mudiay is back from injury. He played 26 minutes in his debut back with Dennis Smith picking up the other 22 PG minutes. I expect DSJ to see more time moving forward, but it is nice that they now have two guys to rotate that are decent, young point guards.
Knicks Cover at Home
This game is a very sticky situation because of such a big line in favor of the road team. First of all, if you want to bet on the Spurs, I would wait. I do not expect the line to move drastically if LMA is ruled inn because I think that is what is being projected. On the off chance that LMA or White are out, I think the Spurs drop a couple of points on the spread. I like the Knicks here simply because I think they can keep the game competitive. It is really tough to like a team that is trying to lose, but they are not trying to lose by 15. I expect them to play hard and I think the Spurs defense is bad enough that the Knicks will not struggle too much to find good shots. The Knicks struggle because they rarely get great shots, but I expect them to see their fair share in this game. Give me the Knicks +9 at home here.