The New York Knicks have 42 playoff appearances in franchise history, but haven’t made the postseason since 2013. That is about to change. Whether or not the Knicks draw closer on Monday will depend on how things go against the Memphis Grizzlies. Sure, the Knicks could get closer based on results from teams that are close to elimination, but taking the bull by the horns is more fun.
The Memphis Grizzlies also appear to be playoff-bound, but they are ticketed for the NBA’s first play-in tournament between the 7 through 10 seeds. Every win increases their chances of advancing to the actual postseason, so they have some incentive in this game on May 3 as well.
As we survey the odds from Bovada Sportsbook, we see the Grizzlies a short road favorite of -3.5 against a Knicks team in a back-to-back. The total on the game is 218.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are in a back-to-back with travel here after playing on Sunday against the lowly Houston Rockets. New York is in a great situation right now and a lot of it has to do with how the team has played over the last several weeks. The Knicks were 25-27 not that long ago. They head into this game with 11 wins in their last 12 games after last night’s blowout victory.
Knicks fans probably don’t know what to do with themselves regarding this stretch. It has been a long time since the team was competitive, let alone a legitimate playoff contender. The Knicks won 17 games in the 2018-19 season. There’s a chance that they could win 17 games from April 9 through the end of the season.
The Knicks have stayed healthier than other teams, which has been a big positive, but the biggest positive is that Julius Randle has become a superstar. Randle leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists per game. It isn’t like he hasn’t had a supporting cast, but he’s been the catalyst more often than not.
The spot could be viewed as a concern for the Knicks here with the back-to-back with the second game of this six-game road trip. But they were not overly busy before hitting the road and seem to be firing on all cylinders right now.
The rested Grizzlies have the rest advantage, but that seems to be about it. Memphis has dropped three of four and hasn’t really be able to put together any sustained run of success to make a push towards getting out of the play-in tournament. Memphis’s defense has been rather poor lately and this is not an overly gifted offensive team, so they’ve had a hard time stringing together wins.
One night after allowing 75 points to Orlando, the Grizzlies turned around and gave up 112 in a losing effort. In their other two losses, they’ve allowed 130 and 120 points. They happened to outscore Portland 130-128 in one of their recent wins. It has not been the best of looks for them on that end of the floor. They’ll have to play better defensively down the stretch and especially once the play-in tournament arrives.
Bench production has been another problem area for Memphis. Ja Morant, Jonas Valanciunas, and Dillon Brooks have all averaged over 16 points per game, but the rest of the team has been hit or miss. Valanciunas, who has been a double-double machine this season with 17 and 12 on average, has been limited a little bit lately with his minutes and also his production. He’s the key for the team in order to perform up to its capabilities.
The only injury concern for the Grizz is that Grayson Allen is day-to-day. He should be able to give it a go here, but teams are definitely erring on the side of caution with their players with the postseason looming.
Knicks vs. Grizzlies Pick
These teams rank 22nd and 23rd in eFG% offense on the season. Scoring options are few and far between, so a lot of the top players for each team have to play well in order for points to be scored. The concern with the under is that the Memphis defense has not played well at all of late. However, with the Knicks in a back-to-back and a strong sense of playing defense, they should keep this game lower-scoring.
NBA Pick: Under 218