LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 15: Miami Heat Forward Jimmy Butler (22) jumps to make a pass during a NBA game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers on February 15, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. The game was played without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Miami Heat are 4-point road favorites over the New York Knicks on Monday (March 29th, 7:30 pm ET)
- New York has won three straight, while Miami enters play on a six-game losing streak
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
A pair of Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls clash on Monday (March 29th, 7:30 pm ET) at MSG, as the New York Knicks host the Miami Heat. These longtime rivals are heading in opposite directions at the moment, but you’d never guess that looking at the opening odds at DraftKings.
Heat vs Knicks Odds
|Miami Heat||-4.0 (-112)||-167||OFF|
|New York Knicks||+4.0 (-109)||+138||OFF|
Odds as of March 28th.
The Knicks opened up as 4-point underdogs, in a game that doesn’t feature a total at the moment. The main reason for the over/under being off the board is due to a flurry of injuries on both sides, including a questionable tag to New York all-star Julius Randle.
The Knicks enter play winners of three straight, while the Heat are mired in a six-game losing streak.
2021 NBA Championship Odds Tracker
Knicks Need Reinforcements
New York was already without Randle on Saturday in Milwaukee, when they lost starting center Mitchell Robinson to a broken foot. The third-year pro was playing in only his fourth game since returning from a broken hand, and his absence leaves a huge hole down the middle.
Soon as I start to get back to myself this happens I watched the video a few times that was some bs
— Mitchell Robinson (@23savage____) March 28, 2021
Fortunately, the Knicks were able to overcome the injury to Robinson and the absence of Randle against the Bucks, because fourth-fifths of Milwaukee’s starting lineup didn’t suit up. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Donte DiVincenzo all missed the contest, but even with the Bucks’ roster decimated, New York only prevailed by six.
Alec Burks and RJ Barrett paced the offense with 21 points apiece, while Derrick Rose poured in 13 in his first game back from a COVID absence.
Another 20+ point game for RJ. pic.twitter.com/PJmAcgy0e4
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 28, 2021
New York owns the league’s third lowest scoring offense, so the questionable status of Randle against Miami is something to monitor. Randle leads the Knicks in points, rebounds, and assists per game, and boasts the team’s largest PER by a wide margin.
The Knicks have scored 106 points or less in five of their last six outings, and wouldn’t be posting wins if not for an elite defense.
Help Is on the Way
Miami meanwhile, fell to Charlotte 110-105 on Saturday, falling behind by as many as 30 before clawing back to make the final score respectable. Jimmy Butler led the way in a losing effort with 20 points and 9 rebounds, but the team lost starting shooting guard Kendrick Nunn to an ankle injury.
NBA INJURY ALERT: Heat PG Kendrick Nunn (ankle) and PG/SG Victor Oladipo (illness) have been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. the Knicks. PG Goran Dragic (back) is probable and PF/C Nemanja Bjelica will be available to play. pic.twitter.com/17Qrk2NZbq
— DK Nation (@dklive) March 28, 2021
To make matters worse, deadline acquisition Victor Oladipo will have to wait at least one more game to make his Heat debut, as he’s already been ruled out with an illness.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Miami though. Nemanja Bjelica, who they acquired from Sacramento last Thursday, will be available to play, as will Goran Dragic who’s missed the last four games due to back spasms. Dragic averages 13.9 points and 4.9 assists per game and will surely help an offense that ranks 26th in scoring, and 21st in field-goal percentage.
Heat Halt Streak
Like New York, Miami’s success this season has been in large part due to its defense. They rank fourth in points against, and second in opponent field-goal percentage. In two games versus the Knicks this season, they’ve held them to an average of 100.5 points, and that was with both Randle and Robinson healthy.
The Heat also neutralized Barrett, the Knicks second leading scorer, holding him to just 16 total points in the pair of games.
Offensively, Butler has been a beast against New York, averaging 21.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 8.5 assists, leading Miami to a pair of victories.
Yes, the Heat have been in a funk, but don’t discount the stability and leadership Dragic’s return brings to this team. This is an auto bet at -4 if word leaks out early that Randle will miss, but even with his status up in the air, Miami is the side to back in this pivotal Eastern Conference showdown.
Pick: Miami Heat -4 (-112)
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Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.