The Los Angeles Clippers (31-21) travel to the New York Knicks (22-31) tonight in a battle of teams in trade talks (8pm ET Wednesday). Los Angeles has been rumored to be pursuing Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, while New York is allegedly open to moving him despite his no-trade clause.
New York’s season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. The team’s defense remains terribly weak, and the combination of Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose has just decent stats. The Knicks begin a potentially season-defining stretch of five out of seven games against above .500 teams Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Injuries have derailed the Clippers’ dominant start to the season. Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have missed significant time and Paul remains out with a torn thumb ligament. Los Angeles is 27-9 when CP3 plays, and just 4-12 when he doesn’t. That is certainly a factor for this preview to ponder when deciding our betting predictions and picks for this matchup.
Can Anybody Contain DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin Inside?
Rebounding is a relative strength for the Knicks. They out-rebound opponents by above two boards per game. However, their best rebounder and steadiest post defender (Joakim Noah) is likely out tonight, and the broad shoulders of DeAndre Jordan (pictured) await. Jordan averages 13.7 rebounds per game and has the frame and athleticism to terrorize New York’s less experienced bigs.
Griffin poses a different threat, but he is just as dangerous. The skilled power forward is very aggressive and strong as a post scorer. He should bully New York’s thinner frontline players (Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez) and out-quick Kyle O’Quinn.
New York’s bigs will have to play extremely well to keep Jordan and Griffin in check. If they don’t, and the Clipper duo combines for something like 40 points and 30 rebounds, this will be a relatively easy Los Angeles win.
Can Derrick Rose Be Assertive as a Penetrator and Playmaker?
Without Chris Paul, the Clippers have turned to Raymond Felton at point guard. Felton is a feisty defender, but he is on the slower side at his position and can have his troubles against faster matchups.
Enter Derrick Rose — say what you will about the former MVP’s mediocre overall performance this season, but he’s still a blur with the ball when he puts his head down and goes to the rack.
The Knicks must make a conscious effort to give Rose touches in transition and in the pick-and-roll. as opposed to endless Carmelo Anthony isolations. Rose makes everyone on New York’s offense better when he can get his teammates clean spot-up looks. It needs to happen more against Felton or whoever else guards him.
Can J.J. Redick Find a Shooting Rhythm Without Chris Paul?
J.J. Redick is an excellent shooter off the catch. However, he benefits greatly on offense when Chris Paul, a fantastic passer and floor general, is playing. Redick’s three-point percentage drops from 44.4 to 39.5 when CP3 is off the floor.
The former Duke standout has also proven to be a very good barometer of the Clippers’ success. His averages in wins are 21.1 points, 1.7 assists and 1.4 turnovers per 36 minutes, while he gets just 16.8 points, 1.6 assists and 2.2 turnovers per 36 minutes in losses. His true-shooting percentage also falls from 63.2 to 52.8 when Los Angeles loses.
The Knicks are not known for strong perimeter defense, but Redick may continue to struggle with Paul sidelined. If he has another poor shooting night, the Clippers’ offensive spacing will suffer.
Our Preview’s Los Angeles Clippers vs New York Knicks Betting Picks & Predictions
Which team do I trust more here? Despite both teams’ recent struggles, it has to be the Clippers. They are a much worse squad without Chris Paul, but they still have a dependable veteran roster that should put forth a decent effort.
Los Angeles has the defensive personnel to get back on track and I think the team will do so against an inconsistent Knicks offense. So here are this preview’s picks and betting predictions:
- The top online USA betting firms have the Clippers favored by one and a half or two points. I would go with Los Angeles here, despite the team’s three-game losing streak. All of those losses were to teams with winning percentages of .600 or better. Bet on the LA Clippers -1.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes Sportsbook or MyBookie. It is -2pts at -105 odds with Bovada and -110 with BetOnline for that same spread.
- When looking at the total points betting lines, the most common over-under for tonight’s matchup is 219pts. That is a strong reaction to the Clippers’ recent defensive difficulties against elite offenses. I think it’ll be close, but going under 219pts @ -110 seems smart here with 5Dimes or MyBookie. It is under 218.5pts with BetOnline for the same odds, while Bovada was not betting on the points total at the time of writing these predictions.