An Eastern conference clash featuring a pair of playoff hopefuls is set to tip at 7:30 pm ET at Madison Square Garden on Monday night as the New York Knicks host the Miami Heat. These longtime rivals currently each hold playoff spots, but both have struggled and battled injuries as of late.
Miami Heat Preview
Miami fell to Charlotte (110-105) on Saturday night. The Heat fell behind as many as 30 before digging themselves out to make the final outcome respectable. Jimmy Butler led the way providing 20 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort. Shooting guard Kendrick Nunn suffered an ankle injury and is expected to be out for a period of time.
The Heat acquired Victor Oladipo at the end of the deadline but will have to wait at least one more game for him to make his debut as he has been ruled out due to an illness.
Nemanja Bjelica, who the team also acquired at Thursday’s deadline, will be available to play, as will Goran Dragic who’s been out the four games because of back spasms. On the season, Dragic is averaging 13.9 points and 4.9 assists and will surely provide a spark to an offense that currently ranks 26th in scoring and 21st in field goal percentage.
New York Knicks Preview
The New York Knicks have been without all-star forward Julius Randle and got even worse news losing starting center Mitchell Robinson to a fractured foot. His absence will affect this team in the middle as he was blocking 2.1 shots away per game.
Luckily the Knicks were able to come away with a win despite two of their players being out in large part because the Milwaukee Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday.
Second-year phenom RJ Barrett and guard Alec Burks helped pace the win with 21 points each. Derrick Rose chipped in 13 points in his first game back from Covid-19 league protocol.
The Knicks are in the bottom half in scoring offense, so the question of Randle’s status against Miami is something to follow. Randle leads the Knicks in points, rebounds, and assists, and player efficiency rating by a large margin.
Heat vs Knicks Betting Lines & Odds
Offshore sites have the Miami Heat as -4 point road favorites. Like the Knicks, the Heat’s success has been on the defensive side of the ball. They rank fourth in points allowed and second in opponent field goal percentage. In their two meetings with the Knicks, they have held them to 100.5 points, and that was with both Randle and Robinson on the floor.
The Heat have struggled mightily, losing six in a row but getting Dragic’s leadership back will help this team. Without Randle, the Knicks are going to have some headaches as the Heat have held RJ Barrett to 16 points in their first two matchups. New York has won three straight, but the Heat should be a lock at -4.
Free Betting Pick: Miami Heat -4