NEW YORK KNICKS (17-17)
at MIAMI HEAT (26-7)
Tip-off: Thursday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -9½, Total: 199
The Knicks will get their toughest test of the Jeremy Lin Era when they visit sizzling-hot Miami (15-2 in past 17 games) on Thursday night.
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New York is still trying to find the right chemistry with Lin and Carmelo Anthony, as this will be their third game together since Anthony returned from a groin injury. When these teams met on Jan. 27, neither Lin nor Anthony played, Lin because of a coach’s decision and Anthony because of a wrist injury.
The Knicks bounced back from a Monday home loss to the Nets by beating the Hawks handily at home on Wednesday night, 99-82. Atlanta was without its two All-Stars, SG Joe Johnson and C Al Horford, making them yet another low-quality opponent. The Knicks’ only three road games with Lin in the starting lineup were at Washington (a 14-point win), Minnesota (two points) and Toronto (three).
But the Knicks were able to keep their key players’ minutes in check on Wednesday—no one played more than 34 minutes—with five players scoring in double digits. Lin (14.8 PPG, 5.9 APG) is averaging 23.8 PPG and 9.4 APG over 10 games since moving into the starting lineup. But Anthony (21.5 PPG on 39.9% shooting) is averaging just 13.0 PPG in two games playing alongside him, and PF Amar’e Stoudemire (17.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG) is averaging 15.5 PPG on 43.8% shooting from the field in six games with Lin. The FoxSheets have a three-star trend backing the Knicks:
NEW YORK is 30-11 ATS (73.2%, +17.9 Units) as a road underdog over the last 2 seasons. The average score was NEW YORK 101.7, OPPONENT 102.7 - (Rating = 3*).
Miami is well-rested after having Wednesday off and is 20-3 SU and 13-10 ATS with at least one day of rest. The Heat covered in the first six games of their SU win streak before coming up short of a 13.5-point spread in a 12-point win over Sacramento on Tuesday. LeBron James (27.6 PPG on 55% FG, 8.1 RPG, 6.8 APG) is averaging 24.3 PPG on 57% FG, 7.4 RPG and 6.6 APG despite playing only 32.7 MPG because of the lopsided nature of their wins during the seven-game streak. Dwyane Wade (22.4 PPG) has added 23.4 PPG on 59% shooting over 27.4 MPG over the same span. Wade has averaged 28.0 PPG against the Knicks over the past two seasons, while James has added 26.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 7.0 APG. The FoxSheets provide this strong trend siding with the Heat:
Play Against - Road underdogs (NEW YORK) - poor ball handling team - committing >=16 turnovers/game, in February games. (197-129 since 1996.) (60.4%, +55.1 units. Rating = 2*).