Atlanta Hawks (6-21) at New York Knicks (6-21)
NBA: Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 at 7:30 pm ET (Madison Square Garden)
Line and Odds: New York Knicks -2 Over/Under: 226
Free NBA Picks New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks
When watching this young team, it is clear that the Atlanta Hawks have a long way to go towards being competitive. Atlanta has the 2nd youngest team in the NBA behind the Chicago Bulls. The growing pains have been palpable with this Hawks squad. They are 6-21 on the year, which ties the Pelicans and Knicks for the 2nd-worst record in the NBA. Atlanta won their first two games of the season, but have won just 4 of 25 games since. It has been rough for Atlanta this season, but there have been some recent performances that they can be proud of. In their most recent game, they kept it close with the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, losing 101-96. Atlanta has also taken the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers to overtime in the past couple of weeks. Guard Trae Young has been a star for the Hawks, averaging 27.8 points and 8.5 assists per game. He ranks 5th in the NBA in terms of scoring and assists.
The Atlanta Hawks rank 27th in net rating, getting outscored by 9.3 points per 100 possessions. Atlanta scores 104.4 points per 100 possessions, placing them 26th in the NBA in offensive rating. Despite the presence of Trae Young, the Hawks rank 25th in effective field goal percentage. The Hawks shoot for an eFG% of just 51.0%. They are actually an efficient team from inside the arc, ranking 7th in 2-point shooting percentage. However, they are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to 3-point percentage. Atlanta shoots just 31.7% from 3-point land. The other major problem with the Hawks’ offense lies with their lack of appreciation for the basketball. The Hawks rank 29th in offensive turnover percentage, giving the ball away on a whopping 15.0% of their offensive plays. It becomes difficult to keep pace on the offensive end when you turn the ball over and you can’t hit shots when you do manage to get a field goal attempt off.
Atlanta ranks 27th in defensive rating, giving up 113.7 points per 100 possessions. Defensively, they can cause trouble for their opponents by causing turnovers. The Hawks rank 8th in defensive turnover percentage, taking the ball away on 14.0% of their opponents’ offensive plays. If Atlanta isn’t forcing turnovers, however, opponents are putting up points on them. They rank 24th in effective field goal defense, allowing teams to shoot an eFG% of 54.3%. The Hawks defend the 3 moderately well, ranking 19th in 3-point shooting defense. They struggle more with defending the 2-point shot, ranking 27th in 2-point shooting percentage defense. Even when they force a miss from the field, they have a tough time closing out the possession because their defensive rebounding is so poor. Atlanta ranks 30th in defensive rebound percentage, grabbing just 73.7% of the defensive rebounds available to them. This young Atlanta Hawks team must become better on the defensive end in order to live up to its potential.
There has been a great deal of turmoil with the New York Knicks organization in this early stage of the season. There were reports a couple of weeks into the season that the front office was preparing to fire head coach David Fizdale. After leaving him to twist in the wind for a dozen or so more games, Fizdale finally got fired. It was a microcosm of the ineptitude that Knicks fans have suffered with for the past couple of decades. On the bright side, the Knicks have been playing marginally better since interim coach Mike Miller has taken over. New York went 4-18 under Fizdale and 2-3 under Miller so far. They have been competitive in 4 of the 5 games, beating Golden State and Sacramento while losing to Indiana and Denver by respectable margins. Marcus Morris and Mitchell Robinson have been the best players for the Knicks this season. Morris is the only high volume shooter with an eFG% over 48.0% at 52.5%. He leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game. Robinson has leads the NBA in eFG% (68.5%) and block percentage (7.9%). He ranks 2nd in individual offensive rating (136.0) and 4th in offensive rebound percentage (14.2%).
The New York Knicks rank 29th in net rating, getting outscored by 10.1 points per 100 possessions. New York averages 103.3 points per 100 possessions, ranking them 30th out of 30 teams in offensive rating. As improbable as it seems, there are actually some positives about the New York offense. New York ranks 1st in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage, grabbing 25.4% of the offensive rebounds available to them. The Knicks rank 11th in terms of offensive turnover percentage, giving the ball away on just 12.9% of their offensive plays. Because of the previous two factors mentioned, New York ranks 8th in field goal attempts per 100 possessions and 5th in free throw attempts per 100 possessions. Unfortunately, all of these positives are greatly overshadowed by the fact that they simply cannot shoot. New York ranks 29th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 48.4%. They are 30th in 2-point shooting percentage, 24th in 3-point shooting percentage, and 30th in free throw shooting percentage.
The Knicks have a slightly better defense than offense, but it still ranks in the bottom 5 of the NBA. New York ranks 26th in defensive rating, allowing 113.4 points per 100 possessions. The Knicks are in the bottom half of the league in nearly every important defensive category. They rank 25th in effective field goal shooting defense, allowing teams to shoot for an eFG% of 54.4%. In particular, they have a difficult time defending the 3. Opponents shoot a 38.5% 3-point percentage when facing the Knicks, ranking New York 29th in 3-point shooting defense. New York allows teams to shoot 25.7 free throws per 100 possessions which ranks New York 27th in that statistic. They are 20th in defensive turnover percentage and 22nd in defensive rebound percentage. The Knicks force turnovers on 13.0% of their opponents’ offensive plays and grab 76.3% of the defensive rebounds available to them.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone OVER in 15 of Atlanta’s last 20 games.
Atlanta are 2-15 SU in their last 17 games.
Atlanta are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games against New York.
New York is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
New York is 2-11 SU in their last 13 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New York’s last 5 games against Atlanta.
ESPN NBA Scores Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks
I like the Atlanta Hawks at +2 in this matchup. I have a difficult time backing the New York Knicks if they are giving points to anyone. This game will feature many terrible units, but I believe the New York offense is the worst of them all. Simply put, the Knicks cannot hit shots. They can’t hit twos, threes, or free throws. Marcus Morris is the only high volume shooter with an effective field goal percentage above 48.0%. R.J. Barrett has been a disappointment for the Knicks so far and Julius Randle has been horrid from an efficiency standpoint. Atlanta is the slightly better team here, and I feel comfortable backing them even when home court advantage is factored in. The Hawks will have the best player on the floor in Trae Young and the better overall offense. Take Atlanta and the points.