Having recently snapped their four-game losing streak after taking down the Detroit Pistons, the Denver Nuggets take on the New York Knicks, who have won two straight games after a losing streak of their own. In two different positions in their respective conferences, this could be a fun game. Not to mention, this game is afternoon hoops you enjoy at lunchtime.
Of the two teams, the Nuggets have more comfort in their seeding. They’ve got a 4.5-game lead over the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, who remain without Ja Morant, which handicaps their chances at a long win streak.
The Knicks sit in the middle of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference as the fifth seed, ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. It seems that whichever team takes the fifth seed will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers instead of the Philadelphia 76ers, so the Knicks will want to maintain their position.
The last time these teams met, the Nuggets were without Nikola Jokic, which played a key role in their 3-point loss where they had a terrible offensive game. This game will be different because of that. The Nuggets are 2-point favorites, and they will be much better offensively with their MVP candidate and back-to-back MVP in the lineup. This should lead to them covering the 2-point prop, too.
As many things as the Nuggets do well, I’m not worried about their interior defense. Randle will have a tough defender on him in Aaron Gordon, but he can use screens and actions to pick the matchups he wants in the spots he wants them. He’s averaging 26.3 points per game on the month and has played incredibly well in each of the Knicks five wins on the month. If they want a chance of winning, Randle will have to play solid and expose the Nuggets right around the rim.
As Embiid took over as the MVP favorite, Jokic has remained elite and has his same case to win the award. He’s been on a scoring tear as of late. However, I never feel confident in his points props because he can score 14 points on eight shots, and his impact won’t waiver. He is, though, efficient on the boards and will bring the same impact there night in and night out. In the month, Jokic has averaged 13.1 rebounds per game, picking up double-digit rebounds in each game but one. The Knicks won’t throw enough rebounding at Jokic to mess with his MVP-level numbers.
Knocking down four 3-pointers in a game that snapped the Nuggets losing streak was huge for KCP. What he provides is proven to help the team win. When he’s knocking down his shots, everything opens up for Jokic to allow the offense to flow much more smoothly. Not only is he helping Jokic as both a facilitator and a scorer, but cutting lanes open up, and Jamal Murray gets more room to work. If Caldwell-Pope comes off his big game and shoots the three-ball with volume, he will easily cover this prop, impacting the Nuggets eventual win.
As the NBA regular season winds down, we are beginning to prepare for the postseason. Teams are fine-tuning their rotations and major stars are returning from i
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