Christmas Day is to the NBA as Thanksgiving is to the NFL. 5 video games from midday to midnight that includes the league’s prime groups and largest stars. It’s basketball heaven.
That’s, if it occurs in response to plan.
As a consequence of an explosion of optimistic COVID-19 assessments across the league, a few of these prime groups are short-handed and lots of stars are within the well being and security protocols as a substitute of out on the courtroom. ESPN reported Tuesday the ten groups taking part in on Christmas have been notified that sport occasions could also be altered if COVID-19 points drive adjustments.
9 video games have been rescheduled as of Wednesday, in response to Hashtagbasketball.com. That features three Nets video games and one Hawks sport, each of whom play on Christmas.
Gamers within the league’s well being and security protocols embody: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Trae Younger and Luka Doncic, according to CBS Sports’ working checklist. All of them are scheduled to play on Christmas if they’re cleared to take action.
With all of these contingencies and availability issues established, let’s get into the video games. Pat Benson from AllHawks, SI’s FanNation web site overlaying the Hawks, joins me to make sense of the Christmas Day showdown between the Hawks and Knicks.
Season report: 49-46-1
Visitor pickers: 32-58
Editor’s Word: All stats, data and odds are as of Dec. 23
Time: 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
Unfold: Hawks +1.5 (-110) | Knicks -1.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Hawks (+100) | Knicks (-118)
Whole: Beneath 218.5 (-110) | Over 218.5 (-110)
Accidents: Hawks G Kevin Huerter—Out; Hawks G Lou Williams—Out; Hawks G Trae Younger—Out; Hawks C Clint Capela—Out; Knicks G Derrick Rose—Out; Knicks C Nerlens Noel—Out; Knicks G RJ Barrett—Out; Knicks G Immanuel Quickley—Out
The league probably didn’t count on both of those groups to be under .500 at this level when this sport was scheduled. The Hawks have significantly underperformed contemplating their postseason run a season in the past. The Hawks are 3-6 for the reason that calendar turned to December and misplaced to the Knicks, 99-90, in late November.
Trae Younger level guards the fourth-ranked scoring offense (111.5 PPG), however Atlanta’s Twenty fourth-ranked scoring protection (111 PPG) has it outdoors of a play-in event spot.
The Knicks have been equally disappointing this season, particularly this month the place they’re 3-9 with wins in opposition to the Spurs, Rockets and Pistons.
New York longs for playmaking with the Kemba Walker experiment already deemed a failure and now an damage sidelining Derrick Rose for a number of weeks. The Knicks rank twenty sixth in field-goal share and twenty ninth in assists per sport.
Julius Randle leads New York in factors, rebounds and assists, although his numbers are down throughout the board. The Knicks are the No. 22 scoring offense (105.8 PPG) and considerably make up for that with the Thirteenth-ranked scoring protection (106.9 PPG).
Kyle Wooden’s Bets:
Unfold decide: Hawks +1.5
These are two of the worst groups within the league Towards the Unfold, and so they have almost similar data. So, I’m making this decide primarily based on shared hope with Trae Younger. The Hawks’ star tweeted Tuesday he’s asymptomatic and he hopes he received’t miss the Christmas sport. I hope so too. If Younger can play, I like him to placed on a present at Madison Sq. Backyard in his return and pilot Atlanta to a win.
Over/Beneath decide: Beneath 218.5
There’s all the time the prospect that Younger doesn’t play, and the Knicks aren’t precisely a prolific offense. That’s why I’m snug with the underneath. The Hawks scored simply 98 factors Tuesday regardless of Cam Reddish going off for 34 factors, and New York has been held underneath triple digits two occasions in its final 5 video games. With out Younger, Atlanta can’t rating and the Knicks are a poor offense regardless of who’s on or off the ground.
Visitor Picker Pat Benson’s Bets:
Trae Younger took a bow Final June after finishing a gentleman’s sweep of the Knicks within the playoffs. In September, he additional antagonized New Yorkers at WWE SmackDown. Since then, Younger has performed at an MVP-level this season.
Regardless of guidelines adjustments, which have decreased his free-throw makes an attempt, Younger is averaging a career-high 27.3 factors and 9.3 assists per sport.
No different participant is within the prime three in each statistical classes.
Due to their level guard’s prolific offense, the Hawks have the second-best offensive score and shoot a better three-point share than every other crew.
Sadly, each golf equipment have struggled resulting from sickness and accidents in current weeks.
However, this will probably be an thrilling sport between two groups that not solely dislike one another however have competing basketball philosophies—small-ball versus bully-ball.
Unfold decide: Knicks -1.5
Though the Knicks are averse to scoring, I am taking them to cowl the unfold. Not simply due to the plain home-court benefit, however as a result of the Hawks have struggled in opposition to contenders. Nearly all of their wins have come completely in opposition to shedding groups. The Knicks have a extra spectacular resume via 30-plus video games.
Over/Beneath decide: Beneath 218.5
Mix each groups’ common factors per sport, and it does not equal 218.5. Coupled with so many gamers out resulting from COVID-19, the underneath is a protected guess. Let’s hope each rosters are wholesome, and extra importantly, Knicks followers do not spit on Trae Younger once more.
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