BROOKLYN NETS (24-16)
at NEW YORK KNICKS (25-13)
Tip-off: Monday, 3:35 p.m. ET
Line: New York -3.5, Total: 193.5
Two well-rested teams that reside in the same city will meet for a matinee on Martin Luther King Day when the Knicks host the Nets.
Brooklyn has been playing outstanding basketball all month, winning eight of nine SU and going 5-3-1 ATS. Since P.J. Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson as head coach, the team is 10-2 SU (6-5-1 ATS). New York has won two in a row, and will be taking the court for the first time since beating Detroit 102-87 in London last Thursday. These cross-town rivals have already met three times this season with the Nets taking the series opener on Nov. 26, but the Knicks winning the past two meetings, including a 100-86 pounding when they last met on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden. The Nets enter this game with a healthy roster, while the Knicks are still missing PG Raymond Felton (finger) and big men Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, both to foot injuries. But the Knicks did get SG Iman Shumpert back on the court Thursday for the first time since he tore his ACL last year. New York is 18-7 SU at home all-time in its annual game on Martin Luther King Day.
Which team will stay hot on Monday afternoon? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Brian is 25-20 ATS (56%) on NBA Best Bets since Dec. 23, giving him a 53% ATS mark (64-58-3) for the season. StatFox Scott also has a season Best Bets mark of 53% ATS (57-51), with Gary at 52% ATS (50-47-4) for the season. The four experts are collectively 50.3% ATS (248-245-11) on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, Scott is 6-2 in the past three days, boosting his impressive season NBA Totals record to 59-42 (58%). Brian has gone 6-3 in NBA Totals since Jan. 13.
The Nets average 96.6 PPG on 44.3% FG for the season, but they have stepped up offensively in January with 105.0 PPG on 46.1% FG in nine games. PG Deron Williams (17.0 PPG, 7.7 APG) has led the way this month with 19.3 PPG and 8.1 APG, but he has shot very poorly in three meetings with New York this season (42% FG, 22% threes). His backcourt mate, SG Joe Johnson (17.2 PPG, 3.4 APG), has also been great this month with 19.3 PPG, including a 43.4% clip from three-point range. And like Williams, Johnson has also struggled against the Knicks with 13.7 PPG on 37.5% FG. But one player who has thrived in this series this season is C Brook Lopez (18.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG), who has 19.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 3.0 BPG in the two games he's played. Another force down low is PF Reggie Evans (8.9 RPG), who has 11.3 RPG in just 20.0 MPG in the three matchups with the cross-town rival. Evans pulled down 20 boards in Friday's 94-89 win over Atlanta.
New York started the season 10-0 at home, but the team is just 4-5 SU at Madison Square Garden since then, allowing more than 100 points in all five defeats. The offense remains solid though at 101.5 PPG this season (8th in NBA), including an impressive 38.7% clip from three-point range (3rd in NBA). SF Carmelo Anthony continues to have an incredible season with 29.2 PPG (3rd in NBA) on 46% FG and 42% threes, scoring 20+ points in 25 straight games. And he has completely dominated the Nets this season with 37.0 PPG on 54% FG and 12-of-20 threes (60%). He scored 76 points during the two victories, and is now averaging 28.8 PPG and 7.3 RPG in eight meetings with the Nets since joining the Knicks. C Tyson Chandler (12.4 PPG, 11.0 RPG) has also been strong against Brooklyn this season with 16.3 PPG (21-of-29 FG, 72.4%) and 9.7 RPG. SG J.R. Smith (16.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG) has been in a shooting funk in the past three games with 12.3 PPG on 30.2% FG (2-of-12 threes), but he's making 49% FG (60% two-point shots) in his three meetings with the Nets this season. PG Jason Kidd (8.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.2 APG) has been outstanding versus his former team this season with 12.5 PPG (8-of-17 threes), 7.0 RPG and 5.5 APG. But Kidd, who is starting in place of the injured Felton, has been going through a rough stretch in the past four games with just 4.5 PPG on 7-of-25 FG with 15 assists and 11 turnovers. Shumpert, who scored eight points (2-of-3 threes) in 15 minutes in Thursday's win over Detroit, had eight points (4-of-6 FG) and five assists when he last faced the Nets on April 18, 2012.