Charlotte Bobcats vs. New York Knicks Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Charlotte Bobcats (15-18 SU, 21-12 ATS) vs. New York Knicks (14-20 SU, 17-17 ATS), 7:30 p.m. EST, Thursday, January 7, 2009, Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y. TV: NBATV
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Bobcats +3.5/Knicks -3.5
Over/Under: 199

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In the only game on the NBA schedule on Thursday, the New York Knicks host the Charlotte Bobcats, as Larry Brown makes his return to Madison Square Garden where he unsuccessfully coached one season in 2005-06.

Both of these teams are playing quite well right now. The Bobcats have won three games in a row over the Heat, Cavaliers and Bulls. The Knicks have won two in a row over the Hawks and the Pacers. Their last win was a dominating 132-89 win at home over Indiana on Sunday.

The Bobcats, who are 21-12 ATS this season, have the second best ATS record in the NBA behind the Hawks’ 23-11 ATS record.

The Knicks and Bobcats played each other in Charlotte on December 15, and the Bobcats won that game, 94-87. Stephen Jackson scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Bobcats. Gerald Wallace had 21 points and eight rebounds, Raymond Felton had 18 points, and Tyson Chandler had eight points and 12 boards. The Knicks had all five starters score in double figures, led by Chris Duhon’s 18 points. Wilson Chandler and David Lee each had 16 points, and Jared Jeffries and Al Harrington each added 11. It was an ugly game with a lot of missed 3-pointers and turnovers. The two teams combined to shoot 10-for-40 from 3-point range and they combined for 43 turnovers.

Lee and Harrington are both averaging better than 18 points per game. Lee leads the team in rebounding with 11 per game. Danilo Gallinari and Chandler are each averaging 14.6 points per game. Gallinari is shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range. Nate Robinson hadn’t played since November and started playing again for the Knicks on January 1. In a win over the Hawks, he put on a show with 41 points (18-for-24 from the field), eight assists and six rebounds. But in the last game, he went back to reality with six points on 2-for-11 shooting.

Jackson, who was acquired during the season in a trade with the Warriors, leads the Bobcats with 20.2 points per game. Wallace is averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and a team-leading 11.8 rebounds per game. Felton has been a solid point guard with 13 points and 5.2 assists per game.

In the Knicks’ 132-89 win over the Pacers on Sunday, Chandler, Lee and Gallinari each scored at least 20 points. Lee grabbed 16 rebounds to along with his 22 points. The Knicks shot 52 percent from the field and 12-for-30 from 3-point land. They turned the ball over only nine times and dominated on the boards with a 55-35 rebounding edge.

In Charlotte’s 113-108 win over the Bulls on Tuesday, Wallace scored 32 points on 10-for-16 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Jackson scored 25 points, as did Flip Murray off the bench on 8-for-12 shooting. The Bobcats got out-rebounded by 10 and allowed the Bulls to shoot 51 percent from the field, but they also shot 51 percent from the field and they were 8-for-16 from beyond the arc, 27-for-33 from the free throw line, and forced 18 turnovers.

The Bobcats are just 3-14 on the road this season but they did win at Cleveland in their last road game. The Bobcats are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss. They are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and the same record as a road underdog. Charlotte is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall. The Knicks are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games as a home favorite and 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win. The Bobcats are 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams and 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings in New York.

Ryno’s Pick: Both of these teams are playing very well right now. Both teams shot over 50 percent in their last game and both have won at least two games in a row. With the lack of defense the Knicks usually play, this could be a high-scoring shooting display where both teams surpass 100 points. The trends strongly lean towards the Bobcats here, as they are 4-0 ATS after an ATS loss, 6-1 ATS on the road, 4-1 ATS in their last five games, 5-0 ATS against the Knicks, and 7-2 ATS in New York. It’s an easy decision to take the points in this one. Take the Bobcats +3.5.