The Charlotte Hornets (39-37) will travel to take on the New York Knicks (34-42) at Madison Square Garden Thursday night as the Hornets look to close the gap on the Brooklyn Nets in the standings. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Hornets are coming off a 113-109 loss to the Nuggets on Monday and they’ve gone 7-3 in their last 10. They sit in ninth place, just one game behind the Nets as they head toward playoffs with just six games left to go.
The Knicks are on the outside looking in, sitting in 11th place but 4.5 games behind the 10th-place Hawks. While they’re not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, it seems very unlikely that they’ll be able to catch the Hawks at this point with just six games to play. The Knicks are riding a four-game winning streak, which they’ll at least look to continue at home tonight.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Hornets favored to win by three points, priced at -150 on the moneyline. The Knicks come in at +130 with the point total at 222.5.
Pick ATS: Hornets -3
The Knicks have won their last four in a row, which started with a 121-106 win over the Hornets on March 23. They did it without Julius Randle or Mitchell Robinson, outscoring Charlotte 40-26 in the first quarter and never looked back. The Hornets can chalk that up as a one-off loss as New York caught them on an off night, as Charlotte has logged wins over the Jazz and the Nets since then. They recently took down the Mavericks and the Hawks as well, proving that they can hang with anybody in the league on any given night.
The Hornets should be motivated at MSG tonight and looking for revenge on the Knicks, while trying to keep their play-in spot alive and well. Not only that, they’re 21-15-1 ATS on the road while the Knicks are just 15-22 ATS at home. The stakes are high with just six games left to play, and I think Charlotte should be able to pull off a win and cover the spread in the process.
Over/Under: Over 222.5
The Hornets are generally a high-scoring team, even though they’ve failed to go over the total in their last three straight. Still, they’ve averaged 116.8 points per game through their last 10, while New York comes in at 109.8 in that same stretch. The Hornets like to play at a faster pace, coming in fourth in the league in pace ranking. Sometimes that fast pace means a slightly sloppier defense, which is shown by their 26th-ranked defense allowing 114.4 points per game from opponents throughout the season.
Both teams will be highly motivated and should put up some pretty decent numbers, so I’m taking the over in this one.
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