CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (2-6)
at NEW YORK KNICKS (4-4)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: New York -11, Total: 203.5
The Bobcats and Knicks meet at Madison Square Garden for the second time in six days on Monday night.
Charlotte stunned New York last Wednesday, winning 118-110 despite being an 11-point underdog. The Bobcats shot a season-high 55.3% FG, as Boris Diaw and Gerald Henderson combined for 51 points on an incredible 22-of-28 shooting (79%). But since that game, Charlotte lost at home to Atlanta and was crushed by 22 points at Indiana. New York rebounded nicely after its defeat with road wins over Washington (99-96) and Detroit (103-80). But this spread is way too large for a team that rarely plays defense (96.4 PPG, 23rd in NBA), while ranking 27th in rebounds (39.1 RPG) and 22nd in assists (19.3 APG). The Knicks are also a pathetic 3-12 ATS when favored by more than eight points since 2005, losing nine of these 15 games outright. They will probably score enough to avenge last week’s loss, but the pick here is CHARLOTTE to win against the spread.
This pair of FoxSheets trends also side with the Bobcats:
Play On - Road underdogs of 10 or more points (CHARLOTTE) - off a road blowout loss of 20 points or more, a bad team, winning 25% to 40% of their games on the season. (73-38 since 1996.) (65.8%, +31.2 units. Rating = 2*).
Play Against - Favorites of 10 or more points (NEW YORK) - revenging a same season loss vs. opponent, tired team - playing 6 or more games in 10 days. (42-17 over the last 5 seasons.) (71.2%, +23.3 units. Rating = 2*).
The Bobcats are allowing a league-most 105.8 PPG this year, but they are doing the job on the glass with 45.0 RPG and a +2.9 RPG margin (5th in NBA in both categories). They had a dreadful offensive night in Indiana on Saturday, shooting 33% FG and getting outscored 56-28 in the second half. D.J. Augustin leads Charlotte with 17.3 PPG, but it was his passing that burned New York last Wednesday, as he finished with 10 assists and zero turnovers. In the past four games, Augustin has 20.3 PPG, 35 assists and just seven turnovers in 151 minutes. His backcourt mate Gerald Henderson has been ice-cold since torching New York for 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, going 7-for-25 FG (28%) in the past two games. Diaw has also slipped up since his 27-point, 12-of-15 night against the Knicks, scoring a total of 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting in the past two defeats. An x-factor for Monday’s game could be rookie Kemba Walker, born in the Bronx, who led Connecticut to five wins in five days in the Big East Tournament at MSG last March. Walker had seven points and five assists in just 16 minutes last Wednesday in New York.
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has been hurting recently, citing soreness in his hip, knee and back. After pumping in 104 points in a three-game stretch (34.7 PPG), Anthony had just 13 points (5-of-14 FG) in Saturday’s win at Detroit. Amar’e Stoudemire appears to be fully recovered from an ankle injury that kept him out of action earlier this month. Since his return, Stoudemire has averaged 23.3 PPG and 10.7 RPG in three games. But New York’s backcourt has struggled without Baron Davis, who hasn’t played yet this season because of a back injury. PG Toney Douglas is shooting 33% FG and 27% three-pointers, and has a mere 3.5 APG in his 27.5 minutes per game. He was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Iman Shumpert on Saturday, who scored 11 points, his third straight double-figure scoring night. SG Landry Fields has not had a happy new year. After scoring 21 (10-of-16 FG) on New Year’s Eve, Fields has a total of 20 points (7-of-22 FG) in his past four games combined. In last week’s loss to the Bobcats, he posted a putrid minus-21 rating in 25 minutes of action.