The Atlanta Hawks visit the fabled Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knick in both team’s season opener on 10/17/18.
After missing the playoffs last season, both Atlanta and New York were able to bolster their respective lineups with lottery picks. The Hawks picked guard Trae Young while the Knicks opted to go big and draft forward Kevin Knox. The Hawks will be without last year’s main man Dennis Schroder who was traded to the OKC Thunder. Meanwhile, the Knicks will be without their top player Kristaps Porzingis who is still rehabbing an injury.
The Atlanta Hawks took a huge gamble on Draft night when they traded 3rd overall pick Luka Doncic for 5th pick Trae Young. While Atlanta got an extra first rounder in the deal, the 18 year old Doncic was considered as the most NBA ready prospect ever coming from Europe.
The Hawks had their reasons to pick Young. The former Oklahoma Sooner led the nation in scoring and assists last season and showed a shooting touch (plus range) that resembled a young Stephen Curry. But the knack on Young is his size and ability to defend the bigger and stronger guards in the NBA. The Hawks however hope his quickness, passing and scoring are going to overshadow his perceived weakness.
Young averaged 15 points and 5.4 assists per game in five preseason games. He shot 10-27 or 37% from the three point line in those five games while also averaging 1.2 steals per game. Young shot only 26-66 or 39% from the floor during the preseason although he shot 44% in his final two games. How those numbers translate to regular season play remains to be seen though. Young has big shoes to fill as he replaces leading scorer and assists man Dennis Schroder who was sent to the Thunder this summer
Atlanta will be without forward Josh Collins who averaged 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game last season. Collins is expected to be out until October 22 after a non-surgical procedure on his injured ankle. Likewise, Dewayne Dedmon, Justin Anderson and Daniel Hamilton are expected to sit out Tuesday’s opener against the Knicks
The New York Knicks will open the 2018-19 season without their main man and unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis averaged 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game for the Knicks in his sophomore season last year before suffering a season ending ACL injury. With Porzingis not expected to return until at least midseason, the Knicks will have to find ways to win games without him.
Good thing for the Knicks is they have a new and experience coach in David Fizdale. The former Memphis Grizzlies head coach and Erik Spoelstra assistant bring new life to a struggling franchise. Unfortunately for Fizdale, he does not have the luxury of playing his best player right now. But the Knicks still have plenty of talent left for Fizdale to work with while waiting for Porzingis.
Tim Hardaway Jr.is coming off a career best season where he averaged 17.5 points per game. New York is also returning big man Enes Kanter who averaged 14.1 points and 11.0 rebounds per game last season. New addition Mario Hezonja is expected to take on some of the scoring load left by Porzingis.New York will also parade rookie Kevin Knox who showed flashes of brilliance during preseason play.
The Knicks also have their own share of injuries in this game as veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee is expected to miss action with a neck injury. Likewise, forward Lance Thomas and second year point guard Emmanuel Mudiay are listed as day to day and did not practice with the Knicks on Monday. If all three are going to sit this game out, it will definitely hurt the Knicks who are already without their best player in Kristaps Porzingis.
The Atlanta Hawks are 4-14 SU in their last 18 games and 3-12 in their last 15 games on the road. On the other hand, the Knicks are 5-17 SU in their last 22 games. Head to head, the Hawks are 5-1 SU in their last games against the Knicks.
Interestingly, the Hawks lead their all-time series 195-175. In the last three seasons, the Hawks are 7-4 in their last 11 games against the Knicks, including 5 out of the last 7. However, five out of their last seven games have been decided by four points or less so either team could have really won and it just so happened that the breaks of the game went Atlanta’s way.
Both teams are without their top players from last season and both teams have their share of injuries to key players. Atlanta will rely on Young, Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore. On the other hand, it will be Hardaway, Burke, Kanter, Hezonja and Knox mainly for the Knicks.
These are two struggling teams and I’m not really sure who steps up to win this game. But given the Knicks have the size advantage with Kanter, Hezonja and Knox plus the fact that they are playing at home, I’d put my money on them in this game. We’re picking the New York Knicks to beat the Atlanta Hawks on 10/17/18.
The Hawks are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall while the Knicks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games. However, New York is 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games played against Atlanta.
As we said earlier, five out of the last seven meetings between the Hawks and Knicks have been decided by four points or less with two games going to overtime. The average winning margin in the last two years has only been 5.29 with only two double digit margin of victory in seven games so this matchup has really been close. It’s interesting to note though that the 1st meeting between these teams in the last three seasons were won by double digits. I’m thinking the Knicks have more firepower here and should win this game by at least four points. Prediction: Knicks -3.5
The total has gone under in five out of the last seven games played by the Hawks and also under in 11 out of the last 16 road games played by the Hawks. On the other hand, the over is 4-2 in the Knicks’ last six games. The total has also gone over in four out of the last five games between these teams and in four out of their last six games played at Madison Square Garden.
The last meeting between these teams had a total of just 195 points. The previous four games to that had at least a total of 215. Both team have scored at least 100 points per game except during that February 4, 2018 encounter where the Hawks won 99-96. History says over but without Porzingis and Schroder, the scoring could take a toll. Prediction Under 213.5
If you compare the injuries to both teams, the Knicks have more damage. But Fizdale still has the better lineup, man for man in this game. I like the Knicks to win this home game. My best bet here is the -155 moneyline as New York isn’t a heavy favorite here. The spread odds look decent but this being a close series in the last two years, I think it’s better to play it even. As for the over/under, the injuries to players and the absence of last season’s top scorers in Porzingis and Schroeder for could hurt the total.
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