NBA Betting: New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks

By: Willie Bee | Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Hawks are 2-1 SU and ATS when playing the Knicks this season.

If the Cleveland Cavaliers could play the New York Knicks every night, the Cavs would be out of the Eastern Conference basement in no time.

Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have joined forces in New York to create one of the NBA's top offensive duos.  And still the lowly Cavs have the Knicks' number, beating 'Melo, 'Mare and Company in Madison Square Garden on Friday night by a 119-115 count to give Cleveland its 11th consecutive win over New York.

The Knicks now head to Atlanta for Sunday's matchup with the Hawks who are also coming off an upset defeat at home on Friday.  Atlanta sat fifth in the conference playoff race heading into Saturday's NBA action, five games ahead of the sixth-place Knickerbockers.

New York (31-29 straight up, 36-22-2 against the spread) got 60 points from the Anthony, Stoudemire duet on Friday, 41 belonging to Stoudemire to lead all scorers in the contest. Yet Cleveland somehow found a way to extend its dominance over the Knicks, knocking off the New Yorkers for a second time in eight days and third time this season.  The good news is the Cavaliers only appear on New York's schedule once more this campaign, April 3 at the Garden.

Friday's loss came with the Knicks 13-point home favorites at the closing bell, snapping a three-game NBA odds win streak.  The 234 points easily skated past the 217 number, leaving New York 4-2 'over' its past six trips to the floor, 30-29 'under' overall on the season.

Anthony's arrival has certainly helped the bottom line for NBA merchandising, but it hasn't meant much to New York in the standings.  The Knicks are 3-3 with the former Syracuse star in the lineup. Anthony's bottom line in the scoring column is slightly up, 26.5 PPG in a New York uniform compared to 25.2 while still performing for Denver.

The Hawks aren't exactly lighting it up right now themselves, tasting defeat for the seventh time in 11 games with Friday's 111-104 setback to the Thunder.  Three-point chalk at home, Atlanta (37-25 SU, 28-34 ATS) surrendered five-point advantages to Oklahoma City in both the first and third quarters as well as a game-high 29 points to a hobbled Kevin Durant.

"I give him a lot of credit," Atlanta's Joe Johnson said of Durant after the game. "He willed them to that victory, he and (Russell) Westbrook. They are a great tandem."

In addition to Durant's "will," Oklahoma City has also had the Hawks' number of late with Friday's triumph the fourth straight for the Thunder over Atlanta.

Johnson and his pals were also playing a man short in Friday's loss with Josh Smith missing his second consecutive game with an MCL sprain to his right knee he suffered against Anthony's old mates in Denver this past Monday.  Smith, second on the team in scoring (16.7) and rebounding (8.7), is doubtful for Sunday's contest.

Chauncey Billups also missed his second straight game for the Knicks while he nurses a sore quad from Tuesday's New York loss at Orlando.  He's officially listed as questionable for Sunday.

This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two clubs on the regular season slate.  Atlanta won the first two – straight up, against the spread, one each in both locales – with New York winning and covering the most recent clash at home on Feb. 16.  That left the Knicks with a slim 6-5 advantage SU and ATS in the last 11 meetings; two of the three battles this season have stayed 'under.'

ESPN will televise Sunday's game from Philips Arena with the tip set for a little past 3:30 p.m. (PT).  SportsSouth will also carry the contest to its subscribers.

Atlanta completes its homestand with Tuesday's matchup versus the Lakers, a game that Don Best's Michael Robinson will preview.  The Knicks catch a quick flight back home to host the Utah Jazz on Monday before heading right back out on the road next week to Memphis and Dallas.

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