May 15, 2021
The New York Knicks have done it. They are back in the playoffs for the first time in eight years. That has made Tom Thibodeau one of the NBA Coach of the Year contenders.
Currently, the Knicks are in line to be the No. 6 seed, but they are level with the Miami Heat and a half game behind the Atlanta Hawks.
Thibodeau and the Knicks would love to win their last two games in order to run down one of those two teams. That would give them an easier first round matchup, as they would have to take on either the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets as the No. 6 seed. The Charlotte Hornets won’t be a pushover on Saturday though.
Charlotte is in a similar situation. The Hornets are locked into the play-in tournament and are currently tied with the Indiana Pacers and one game up on the Washington Wizards. As long as they finish ahead of both teams, they will have two chances to make it to the postseason.
However, if they fall behind either the Pacers or Wizards, they will have to win an elimination game before a winner-take-all game to be the No. 8 seed.
Hornets vs. Knicks Betting Resources
Betting Odds - Hornets vs. Knicks
Subject to Change
The Hornets look to improve their seeding in the play-in tournament as they battle the Knicks on Saturday afternoon. (AP)
Hornets vs. Knicks Current Form-Last Game
The Knicks have been one of the best teams in the NBA over the last five weeks. They were 25-27 after their loss to the Celtics on April 7, but they proceeded to win 12 of their next 13 games. Their lone loss was against the red-hot Phoenix Suns, and that allowed them to move into playoff position.
They have lost three of their last five games, but it’s hard to fault them for any of those losses. They fell on the road to the Denver Nuggets and lost to the Suns again, and they lost in overtime to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
New York was able to bounce back with a gritty win over San Antonio on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Alec Burks had a season-high 30 points in a 102-98 victory. Burks went 11-of-20 from the floor and pulled down 10 rebounds for a rare double-double. His surge was needed as Julius Randle had an off night, going just 7-of-21 against the Spurs.
The Hornets have been hovering around .500 for most of the season. It’s been a rough month for this team though, as they were 27-24 after going on the road to beat the Milwaukee Bucks on April 9.
They are 6-13 since that point with four of those wins coming against the worst three teams in the Eastern Conference in Cleveland, Orlando, and Detroit.
Charlotte nearly knocked off New Orleans and Denver at home before getting hammered by the L.A. Clippers on Thursday.
LaMelo Ball led the Hornets with 18 points and added six rebounds and seven assists, but no other player could score more than 13 points.
Hornets vs. Knicks Head-to-Head
This will be the third meeting between these teams this season. Home court advantage has been important as the Hornets hammered the Knicks, 109-88 in Charlotte in mid-January and the Knicks got their revenge in Madison Square Garden three weeks ago.
(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)
Charlotte Hornets Betting Outlook
Inside the Stats (2020-2021)
Ball is the odds-on favorite to be named NBA Rookie of the Year and has been excellent for the Hornets this season, and he looks more mature than anyone believed after a subpar 12 games with the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL.
The third pick of last year's draft is averaging 15.8 PPG and leads the team with 6.2 APG. Ball has been a somewhat effective shooter, and his vision has opened things up for this offense.
The Hornets won’t have Gordon Hayward back until the playoffs, so they have needed more out of Terry Rozier.
Rozier has played well and exploded for 43 points in 42 minutes against New Orleans last Sunday. He is averaging 20.5 PPG and making 45.2% of his field goals and 39.1% of his threes, but he is coming off an awful performance against the Clippers on Thursday.
Charlotte ranks outside the top ten in every offensive category except assists. The defense has been a little better, but they rank dead last in interior defense, allowing opponents to make 55.1% of their two-pointers.
New York Knicks Betting Outlook
Inside the Stats (2020-2021)
Randle has been superb for the Knicks this season. He is averaging 24.0 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 5.9 APG, leading the team in all three categories. Randle is making 45.7% of his field goals and 41.2% of his threes on the season.
Thibodeau might want to give him a bit more rest though after playing 44 minutes on Tuesday night and 45 minutes on Thursday night.
R.J. Barrett is the Knicks’ second leading scorer. Barrett is averaging 17.6 PPG and is third on the team in rebounds with 5.8 RPG. He is making 39.8% of his threes, and he has knocked down at least 40% of his treys in seven of his last eight games.
Veteran Derrick Rose has had a resurgent season in the Big Apple. Rose is averaging 14.8 PPG and 4.3 APG for the Knicks, and he is making 38.6% of his threes in this offense.
The former MVP has turned it on in May too with 24 points in four of his six games this month. However, Rose missed Thursday’s game due to an ankle injury and is considered questionable.
The Knicks are thriving due to their ‘three and D’ mentality. They rank fourth in the NBA in three-point shooting (39.0%), and they have the best perimeter defense in the league, holding opponents to under 34% beyond the arc.
New York Knicks
Hornets vs. Knicks Prediction
It’s tough to go with the Hornets here. They have not been good since Hayward’s injury, and the Knicks have a lot on the line in this game.
Score Prediction: Knicks 109, Hornets 100