The 50-11 Golden State Warriors aim to avoid losing three consecutive regular-season games for the first time since November 2013 on Sunday afternoon against the 25-37 New York Knicks (3.35pm ET on ABC).
It has been a disastrous road trip for the Warriors so far. In their first game against the 76ers, Kevin Durant sprained the MCL in his knee. He is now out at least four weeks. In the next two contests, Golden State shot poorly from three-point range and lost to the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls, respectively. Those two losses were the first consecutive setbacks Golden State has suffered since April 5 and 7, 2015.
The Knicks are just trying to tread water in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but they’re having trouble finding consistency on either end of the court. New York hasn’t won consecutive contests since December 22 and sits 4.5 games back of the East’s No. 8 seed.
Will the Knicks pull off an upset on their home court? Probably not, but favorable answers to the three questions that follow could make it possible. This preview will then give predictions for the spread with the American online sportsbooks and picks for the total points for this NBA game.
Will Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson Regain Their Three-Point Strokes?
The Warriors rely a lot on the three-point shot, especially from Curry (pictured) and Thompson. But arguably the two best long-distance shooters in the league have gone a combined 11-of-64 (17.2 percent) on the Warriors’ three games of their road trip.
If this trend of frigid outside shooting continues, the door opens for a New York win, especially since the Splash Brothers shoot a lot of threes every game.
Not surprisingly, Warriors losses often involve poor shooting from their backcourt. Curry and Thompson are a combined 57-of-210 (27.1 percent) from downtown when Golden State loses, but 371-of-852 (43.5 percent) in wins.
The Knicks, not known for their perimeter defense, will need to make it a priority to blitz both guys on screens around the three-point line. If one of the guys gets into a rhythm again, New York could lose contact in this game.
Can Derrick Rose Attack the Rim Early and Often?
Rose obviously isn’t the MVP-caliber player he was five years ago, but he is still important to the Knicks’ offense. He’s their best option as a drive-and-kick penetrator out of the pick-and-roll.
If that option isn’t working, New York has to settle for endless Carmelo Anthony isolations and Kristaps Porzingis post-ups. That relegates Rose to being a spot-up shooter and cutter, which are definitely not his strengths.
The Warriors are a fantastic defensive team as a whole, but they are relatively weak at point guard with Stephen Curry. Curry is a mediocre individual defender who can get lost around screens. He also loses some freshness for the offensive end when he has to work hard against an aggressive scorer. Rose must take advantage.
Can Kristaps Porzingis Produce Anything Of Note?
The Knicks’ Porzingis and the Warriors’ Draymond Green is a mismatch at the power forward position. Porzingis has a great future in the NBA, but he’s still young and not at Green’s level. Draymond is arguably the top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year for his ability to contain players of all sizes, including the 7’3” Latvian.
New York’s young franchise player has struggled mightily in his three matchups against Green thus far. He is averaging a measly 8.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game with 25.0 percent shooting in those games, all losses by at least 13 points.
If Porzingis comes out playing inspired ball, scoring at least 16 efficient points and eight well-earned rebounds, this game could be a Knicks win, or at least a close loss.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs New York Knicks Betting Predictions & Picks
No Kevin Durant for the Warriors means Golden State’s chances at an absolute demolition on Sunday afternoon go down. He is their top scorer, who just happens to be an All-NBA-caliber defender.
However, Draymond Green owns Kristaps Porzingis and the Warriors should also be chomping at the bit to avenge back-to-back losses after two full days off.
- Nearly all U.S. sportsbooks have been slow to publish odds on this game, but one of the major firms has and make the Warriors 9.5pt favorites. I think this is a line that Golden State should be able to overcome. The NBA’s top team should take this contest by 10 to 15 points, so bet on the Warriors -9.5pts @ -110 with BetOnline to cover the spread.
- The over-under for this game is 221 total points. Golden State’s best effort on Sunday will come on the defensive end, and with the way Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have shot recently, the Warriors may not put up a huge number of points. Take the under 221pts, again with BetOnline.