The New York Knicks will look to even their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the first round at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT. In Game 1, we saw a back-and-forth contest that ultimately went to the Hawks, 107-105, after Trae Young hit a floater with 0.9 seconds left. Will we see a similarly tight game tonight or will Trae show up again to quiet the MSG crowd?
Below is a look at a number of predictions ahead of Wednesday night’s game for the Free $5K DraftKings Pools - Playoff Edition (ATL-NYK).
Which team will cover the spread? Hawks +1.5 or Knicks -1.5?
Part of me believes the Knicks will bounce back in this spot after Game 1. Julius Randle and RJ Barrett had off games and Derrick Rose was quiet off the bench. Had Randle went 8-of-23 from the field in Game 1, the Knicks would have won the game. So it was really that close. You’d think Thibs makes some adjustments defensively on Trae Young. Will all that said, I just don’t know if New York can keep up offensively. So I’ll take ATL and the points.
Total points: Over/Under 212.5
The total from Game 1 was exactly 212, thus this number. If the Knicks shoot better than 44 percent from the floor and 33 percent from 3-point range, we clear this over. Something tells me the Knicks bounce back on offense but their defense doesn’t respond in the same way. This should create a more high-paced environment forced by Trae Young and the Hawks getting up and down the court. Gimme the over.
Which team will reach 30 points first?
The Knicks got off to a slow start in Game 1 and ultimately had to claw back in the second quarter. You’d think New York will emphasize a better start to the game than 16 points. Still, this feels like the Hawks will get to 30 before the Knicks even if it’s close or not.
Which player will have more points and assists: Bogdanovic or Barrett?
Barrett had an off shooting night in Game 1 while Bogdanovic was better, plus more clutch. Barrett is playing in his first playoff action as a second-year player, so there must have been some jitters in his playoff debut. If that’s the case, give me Bogdanovic to keep his hot shooting going. Barrett also may see quite a bit of De’Andre Hunter on the defensive end.
Julius Randle total Points, Rebounds and Assists: Over/Under 40.5
Randle was the player who struggled the most in Game 1. He finished with just 15 points, but also added 12 rebounds and 4 assists, bringing the total to 31. I’m expecting a bounce back from Randle, so I’ll take the over and risk it in this spot. In these types of pools you want to differentiate yourself somewhere to try and beat the rest of the pack.
Trae Young total Points, Rebounds and Assists: Over/Under 40.5
Part of me thinks that Thibs will get more doubles on Trae and force him into more difficult spots. The other part of me says there is no stopping Young. This is a pretty low number considering what he did in Game 1. Young had 32-10-7, clearing this number in points and assists alone. If this game is higher scoring than the first, we should see Trae hit 30 points again. If that’s the case, this number should be easy to clear. The Hawks are going to run their offense through Trae all game long. His usage and minutes are going to be very high.
Who will win the 4th quarter?
The Hawks finished Game 1 stronger and ended up winning the contest. If it’s a similarly close game on Wednesday night, then this could be a toss up. I think if the script goes like Game 1 and NYK are playing catchup most of the time, ATL will have the last laugh. I’m sort of all-in on the Hawks in Game 2 to an extent, so I’ll lean their way if it ends up they win a close game late in the fourth.
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