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New York vs. New Orleans, 02/19/2014 20:00
Point Spread: +4/-110 New York
New Orleans had been playing well going into All-Star break winning eight of its last 13. And ordinarily I would like to play on a Western Conference club against a weak Eastern Conference foe, but circumstances are different here.
The Knicks played last night. They rallied from an 18-point deficit before blowing a seven-point fourth quarter lead in a 98-93 road loss to Memphis.
That was a frustrating loss for New York as the pressure mounts on Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony. But the Knicks didn't quit and now have the rust off. They also step down in class. The Grizzlies are 6 1/2 games better than New Orleans and have been playing extremely well winning 10 of their last 13.
The Pelicans last played a week ago. That's way too long of a period to sit around in today's NBA. New Orleans doesn't have great incentive either playing in the much more difficult conference where it is 7 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot.
The Pelicans are lottery team and they know it. Anthony Davis is an emerging superstar, but their two other key players - Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson - remain sidelined. Anderson scored 31 when the Pelicans defeated the Knicks, 103-99, at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1.
So the Knicks have a revenge factor to go with a strong urgency to get back into the playoff race. Unlike New Orleans, New York has a legitimate chance to make the postseason because the East is so weak after Miami and Indiana.
The Knicks have covered nine of the last 11 times versus the Pelicans. This includes a 5-0 ATS mark in New Orleans.
Noted Vegas wise guy Stephen Nover is 6-1 on his last seven plays, including cashing an easy winner last night with the Heat over the Mavericks.