The New York Knicks (32-27) look to extend their league-high winning streak when they play host to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
New York has won seven straight and 8 of 10 to move into fifth place in the crowded Eastern Conference, eight games behind conference-leading Philadelphia.
Atlanta (32-26) has won two in a row and an identical eight of 10 and sits one spot in front of New York in the East, 7.5 games off the conference lead.
Despite their impressive winning streak, the Knicks are slight home underdogs in a matchup that looks like a thriller waiting to happen. The NBA Odds for this clash of Eastern Conference long-shot title hopefuls are live in the BetUS Online Sportsbook.
Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks
When: Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: NBA LP, MSG, Bally Sports SE-ATL
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7, WZGC 92.9 FM The Game
Atlanta -1½ -110
NY Knicks +1½ -110
Hawks Still Under the Radar
The Hawks laid an emphatic 112-96 smackdown on Orlando on Tuesday night as Trae Young scored a team-high 25 points and Lou Williams added 22 points off the bench. Atlanta is looking to secure its first playoff berth since 2017 and got the win despite being without five players.
“It’s crazy to think about,” Young said. “A lot of guys are playing well and doing a lot of really good things, and we still ain’t got everybody back. … It’s a great feeling, but I also want to get everybody back and see what we can all do together.”
Clint Capela had a double-double of 14 points and 19 rebounds while Kevin Huerter added 15 points.
Atlanta averages 113.4 points per game (13th) on 46.4% shooting from the field (18th) and 37.3% from beyond the arc (12th). Defensively, the Hawks allow 111.2 points per game (13th) on 46.1% shooting from the field (11th) and 34.4% from 3-point distance (2nd). Atlanta is 16-15 on the road this season.
Knicks Relying on ‘D’
The Knicks come into this affair fresh off a 109-97 smackdown of Charlotte on Tuesday night.
RJ Barrett scored 18 of his 24 points in the third quarter while Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley each added 17 points off the bench.
Now, head coach Tom Thibodeau wants his surging team to stay focused down the stretch run portion of the regular season.
“The important thing for us is not to get lost. You start looking into the playoffs (and) win streaks, you lose focus on getting ready for Atlanta,” Thibodeau said. “That’s where our focus has to be. We just go day-by-day, step-by-step, and if we’re taking care of all the things we need to take care of, then all of the other stuff will take care of itself. And it’s easy to get knocked off course. You can’t do that.”
New York averages a modest 106.2 points per game (27th) on 45.2% shooting from the field (22nd) and 38.0% shooting from beyond the arc (6th). Defensively, the Knicks rank first in the fewest points allowed (104.3 PPG), field goal shooting defense (44.1%), and 3-point field goal shooting percentage (33.6%). New York has gone 19-10 at Madison Square Garden.
Randle, Knicks to Remain Red-Hot
The Hawks might be playing some high-level hoops, but Atlanta has beaten only one team over its last 10 games that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. On the flip side of the coin, New York has beaten a trio of teams that would all be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
Atlanta has gone 1-5 ATS in its last six games against a team with a winning straight-up record and 0-5-1 ATS in the last six meetings against New York. The Knicks are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games, 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight-up win, and a blistering 20-6-1 ATS in their last 27 games overall.
New York has won three straight and five of the last six against Atlanta overall, including a 123-112 home win on Feb. 15, the last time they met. Make no mistake about it. This mid-week matchup looks like a flat-out thriller. Still, I’m going with New York to get the outright home and ATS cover against a very manageable 2.5-point spread.