NBA Odds: Miami Heat host New York Knicks

By: Brad Young | Saturday, February 26, 2011

New York broke a 7-game skid versus Miami with a late-January win.

Two Eastern Conference teams that are dramatically different from this time last season collide Sunday when New York (29-27 straight up, 33-21-2 against the spread) visits Miami (43-16 SU, 29-29-1 ATS).  Both teams are trying to improve their playoff positioning, with the Knicks currently in sixth place and the Heat battling Boston for the top spot.

New York retooled itself in the offseason with the acquisition of Amare Stoudemire.  But the Knicks really made headlines with the recent arrival Carmelo Anthony, giving them a powerful frontcourt duo.

Miami improved its roster dramatically with the addition of LeBron James and Chris Bosh this past offseason.  The Heat were a 25/1 selection to win the NBA Finals before the moves, but they are currently 2/1 to win the championship.

New York was riding a three-game SU winning streak until Friday’s unexpected loss to lowly Cleveland as eight-point road ‘chalk,’ 115-109.  The combined 224 points eclipsed the 221-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash the second consecutive contest.  The Knicks have now failed to cover their past two performances.

New York was dominated on the boards, 62-42, but the team did deliver more assists, 22-18.  The Knicks finished the game by shooting 42 percent (39-of-93) from the field, and 41 percent (9-of-22) from behind the arc.

Stoudemire paced the offense with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Anthony had 27 and eight.  Point guard Chauncey Billups accounted for 26 and eight assists in the setback.

Anthony slightly injured his elbow in the loss, and is listed as ‘probable’ versus the Heat.

Miami improved to 4-1 SU its last five games after dispatching Washington Friday as a 15 ½-point home favorite, 121-113.  The combined 234 points soared past the 203 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 5-3 the past eight outings.  The Heat are now just 1-3 ATS their last four matchups.

Miami cruised after outscoring the Wizards in the second quarter, 43-36.  The Heat were on the short end of rebounding, 45-34, and assists, 21-14, but shot a blistering 53 percent (41-of-78) from the field along with 39 percent (5-of-13) from 3-point land.

Shooting guard Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 41 points along with five rebounds, while James provided 25, nine and seven assists.  Bosh accounted for 15 and eight, while point guard Mario Chalmers added 14.

Miami had won seven games in a row against New York SU (5-2 ATS) before falling to the Knicks Jan. 27 as 3 ½-point road ‘chalk,’ 93-88.  The combined 181 points never seriously threatened the 213-point closing total.  The ‘under’ is 3-1-1 the past five games in this series.

New York concludes a three-game road trip with Tuesday’s matchup at Orlando.  The Knicks are 16-6-1 ATS their last 23 road games, while the ‘under’ is 8-3 the previous 11 outings away from home.

Miami guard Mike Miller (ear) is ‘probable’ against the Knicks, while center Dexter Pittman (knee) is ‘out.’  The Heat wrap up a three-game homestand with Thursday’s tilt versus the Magic.  Miami is just 2-8 ATS the past 10 games versus Atlantic Division opponents.  The ‘over’ is 16-7 the last 23 games overall for the Heat.

ESPN will provide coverage of Sunday’s contest beginning at 5:00 p.m. PT from Miami’s American Airlines Arena.

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