The New York Knicks narrowly lost the first game of this series due to them having no answer for Atlanta Hawks PG Trae Young. It didn’t help that the player who usually leads the team in scoring, PF Julius Randle, only came away with 15-points. Randle was abysmal from the field, shooting 6-23, but the Knicks were still able to keep this game close. If they want a chance at beating the Hawks on Wednesday, Randle will need to have a much better showing.
The Atlanta Hawks played to their strengths on Sunday night, exploiting the holes in New York’s defense and exploiting the rules of the NBA. When the Hawks were struggling to get points on the board, the clever Trae Young continuously drew fouls and capitalized at the free-throw line. The Hawks began to frustrate the Knicks by playing this way which was evident by the missed shots on behalf of the Knicks. Atlanta will likely repeat the same formula on Wednesday.
The Knicks need to take this game at home before they head out for two games in Atlanta. The Knicks also remain the favorite here but only by two points. Before you make your decision, let’s see what both teams bring to Wednesday’s game.
The Knicks need a big game from PF Julius Randle on Wednesday.
Throughout the season, Julius Randle has been phenomenal. However, Sunday night, we saw a lackluster and all-around awful version of one of the league’s best big-men. Shooting 6-23 against an already stingy defense isn’t going to cut it on Wednesday. What we know is that Randle has the ability to bounce back from a bad game. He might not get very many chances to rest, though, if his substitution, PF Nerlens Noel, is inactive.
There were two players for the Knicks that really kept them in competition on Sunday night, and that’s PG Derrick Rose and SG Alec Burks. Burks led the team in points with 27 and shot 9 for 13 from the field. Rose led the team in assists and became the floor general, all while coming off the bench.
Can Trae Young use his wit to steal another road win?
Trae Young got creative on Sunday and found a way to capture points at the free-throw line. It’s that same James Harden-level wit that propelled the Houston Rockets to the playoffs a few seasons ago. However, Young can’t rely on that every night, and the Knicks will likely have a game plan in place to combat Young’s foul-hunting.
The Hawks have been great against the spread this season but have struggled in the past against the New York Knicks. They come in as two-point underdogs on Wednesday, which is a small spread but also the same amount the Hawks won by on Sunday.
Who to take on Wednesday night: New York Knicks -2
The key to betting this game is whether or not Julius Randle will have two bad games in a row, and that seems incredibly unlikely. Randle has played at the top of his game the entire season, and it’s safe to consider Sunday’s showing an anomaly. Look for the Knicks to win one at home before heading to Atlanta.
Pick: New York Knicks -2