The 5-10 Los Angeles Clippers are on an unexpected eight-game losing streak and are now looking for any sort of hope. The 8-7 New York Knicks, meanwhile, have exceeded expectations so far, behind Kristaps Porzingis and the rest of their young core.
These squads will face off today at Madison Square Garden in what should be an exciting matchup of strong frontcourts (7:30 p.m. ET Monday).
Both teams have a key guard who is questionable to play. Los Angeles’ Patrick Beverley and New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr. are similar players in terms of impact and will certainly hold their teams back if they can’t go.
Let’s break down the key X-factors for this matchup. Then, this preview will give some predictions and betting picks suggestions for tonight’s contest.
Which Team Can Get More Offensive Playmaking From its Point Guards?
Both teams have a major weakness at the point guard spot, particularly on offense. Jarrett Jack is New York’s starter and rookie Frank Ntilikina backs him up. Jack is way past his prime and Ntilikina is purely a defensive specialist at this point, though the 19-year-old has shown some solid passing abilities.
Los Angeles lost Mirza Teletovic early on in the season, so they have turned to Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers and Jawun Evans for point guard minutes. All three average fewer than four assists per 36 minutes, which is an unacceptable number for a player of that position.
These teams need at least one of their point guards to make an above-average impact as a scoring and passing threat.
Is Kristaps Porzingis’ Recent Slump Just a Minor Blip?
Porzingis is one of the top young talents in the NBA. However, the power forward has shot a mere 34 percent in his last three contests, averaging 18.3 points per contest. Before that stretch, he was at 30.4 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting for the season.
He is facing one of the stiffest frontcourt matchups in the NBA against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan tonight. Griffin isn’t a great defender, but Porzingis figures to be guarding the athletic big man, which should deplete his energy. Jordan is an elite help defender who will control the airways near the rim.
It is understandable that the 22-year-old rising star is struggling with consistency. On this night, he’ll need to play well, though, to prevent the Clippers’ bigs from dominating him.
Can the Clippers Take Advantage of Enes Kanter’s Poor Defense?
The Knicks’ Kanter has earned his first starting role in three years with the Knicks this year. The center has been maligned (and deservedly so) for porous defense throughout his career, so most squads have elected to play him mainly against bench units in recent years.
However, Kanter is stuffing the stat sheet so much this season that the Knicks have kept him in the starting lineup. He is very vulnerable to good offensive frontcourts, though.
Los Angeles needs to center its offensive action against Kanter to attempt to exploit his poor defense. This could mean many pick-and-rolls involving Griffin, Jordan or both. If Kanter is hurting the team too much on defense, New York will have to sit him. That will greatly hurt the team’s ability to rebound and score at the rim.
Our Preview’s Los Angeles Clippers vs. New York Knicks Picks & Betting Predictions
This is a great time to buy low on the Clippers. An eight-game losing streak makes them look like a bad betting pick, but they have lost almost all of their games by small margins. Also, they have more talent than the Knicks, and they’re catching Kristaps Porzingis at a time when he’s not playing his best basketball.
- There’s definitely a consensus on this game that the Knicks are 1.5-point favorites. My prediction for this NBA game would be to take a chance on the Clippers by going with Los Angeles +1.5 @ -110 with Bovada, 5Dimes, Bookmaker, MyBookie or BetOnline.
- There’s also a pretty strong consensus on the over/under for the total game points, which is set at 209.5 with the best US sports betting firms. I think Los Angeles will sufficiently make Enes Kanter a liability on defense, leading to big nights for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Put your money on the over 209.5pts @ best odds of -105 with BetOnline.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.