Spurs battle NBA odds at NY Knicks

By: Barry Daniels | Monday, January 3, 2011

Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs take on the Knicks Tuesday.

The San Antonio Spurs will take their league-leading 29-4 record to the East Coast for a three-game road trip that will start with Tuesday’s contest against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Pete Korner, who makes the betting numbers for the majority of Nevada sports books as owner of Sports Club, has installed the Spurs as four-point road favorites in his overnight line. The ‘total’ is set at 208 points for the 4:30 p.m. PT tip.

The Spurs extended their winning streak to four games on New Year’s Day by thumping the Oklahoma City Thunder as 6 ½-point home favorites, 101-74. San Antonio has now captured 14 of its last 15 games, with the lone loss occurring two days before Christmas at Orlando.

The victory against the Thunder gave Gregg Popovich’s troops their fourth straight cover and raised their spread record to a sparkling 20-12-1. They are also a nifty 8-3 ATS in enemy territory. The ‘over’ is 8-4 in the Spurs’ last 12 road dates and 18-15 in their first 33 overall outings.

Tim Duncan scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in less than three quarters to lead the Spurs past an Oklahoma City team that was playing the second half of a back-to-back situation.

No San Antonio starter played more than 28 minutes. George Hill scored 16 points and Tony Parker produced 14 points and 10 assists.

The Spurs took control with a suffocating defensive performance that started from the opening tap as they limited the Thunder to a season lows in scoring and field goal percentage in their worst loss of the season.

San Antonio has not allowed more than 92 points in any contest during its four-game winning streak. The stinginess has lifted the Spurs into 10th place defensively, allowing an average of 96.7 points per game. However, they are next-to-last in defending the three-point line by allowing the opposition to shoot 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Offensively, the Spurs rank fourth by scoring an average of 105.6 PPG. They are fifth in field goal percentage (47.1 percent) and second in three-point shooting at 40 percent. The Spurs are outscoring the opposition on the road by an average of almost five points per game (104.4 to 99.6).

The Knicks snapped their two-game losing skid Sunday by defeating the Indiana Pacers, 98-92. New York barely covered as seven-point home favorites, which raised the club’s spread record to 17-6 in its last 23 contests and 21-11-1 overall.

The Knicks are outscoring the opposition at home by an average of just one point per game (106.9 to 105.9), which is one of the main reasons they are just 9-7 ATS in their first 16 home dates.

The combined 190 points dipped below the 211 ½-point closing total, leaving the ‘under’ 9-7 in New York’s 16 home games.

New York defeated the Pacers despite missing 11 free throws and having forward  Danilo Gallinari go down with a left knee sprain. The Don Best Sports injury report lists Gallinari as “questionable.”

Amare Stoudemire again took control of New York’s offense down the stretch. The big center scored on a floater, a drive and a 19-footer that helped turn a 90-90 tie into a winning advantage over the final three minutes.

Stoudemire finished with a game-high 26 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. He leads the NBA in fourth quarter scoring, averaging 7.3 points per game.

The Knicks lead the league in scoring with a 106.3 PPG average, and are second in free throw percentage at 79.5 percent. They are shooting 46.6 percent from the floor, which ranks seventh.

However, the Knicks are a poor 28th defensively by allowing a bloated 106.3 points per game.

San Antonio continues its road trip on Wednesday with a stop in Boston to play the Celtics. New York will embark on a four-game West Coast excursion starting with Friday’s contest in Phoenix against the Suns.

 
 
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