Can we crown Knicks after 20 games?

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The NBA season is nearly one fifth complete with most teams having played close to 20 games. It’s still early but we are starting to see which teams are truly improved based upon early season success and which teams may have some trouble overcoming early season struggles.

The New York Knicks continue to impress with their latest accomplishment their win at Miami last Thursday, their second 20 point blowout of the Heat already this season. After suffering a letdown and losing at Chicago two nights later, the Knicks rebounded with a nice home win over Denver on Sunday to improve to 15-5 which is the best record in the East.

Despite the two losses to New York, Miami still sits second in the East with a 13-5 record, a half-game ahead of Atlanta as the surprising Hawks have fashioned a 12-5 record as they’ve adjusted to the loss of Joe Johnson who signed with Brooklyn in the offseason. The Nets have cooled a bit from their hot start and start this week having lost 4 in a row, the last two of which were as home favorites versus Golden State and Milwaukee.

Oklahoma City and San Antonio are tied for the best record in the NBA, 17-4 and despite that great success that would normally indicate a lack of same versus the point spread the Thunder and Spurs have the best ATS marks in the league.

Oklahoma City is 15-6 ATS and San Antonio is next at 14-7. The Knicks are a solid 13-7 ATS while Memphis, another team off to a strong start, is 12-5-1 ATS.

One of the teams off to a fine start that has received little attention is Golden State. The Warriors are not just 13-7 but they’ve also rewarded their backers with a sterling 12-6-2 record ATS.

The worst team to back thus far has been Phoenix. The Suns are just 7-14-1 ATS, already costing their backers more than 8 net units. Both Portland and Sacramento have cost their backers more than 6 net units apiece with their 7-12-1 and 6-11-2 ATS records respectively.

Golden State has been the strongest OVER team thus far with 13 OVERS and 7 UNDERS to date.

The biggest UNDER team has been Chicago. The Bulls have played 13 UNDERS and just 6 OVERS through Sunday.

Here’s a look at three games to be played over this weekend.

Memphis at Denver (Fri): Both teams are considered contenders in the West with Memphis off to a much better start, winning 14 of its first 18 games. Denver has plodded its way to a 10-11 start, largely due to a schedule that has seen the Nuggets play 15 (5-10) of its first 21 games on the road. 

Denver is 5-1 at home, highlighted by a win over defending champion Miami. Denver returns home following a 3 game road trip and both teams play on the road on Saturday. Denver is likely to be favored by a couple of baskets and should take advantage of being at home before heading out on yet another 5 game road trip. The Nuggets already lost at Memphis by 5 points in mid November. DENVER.

Boston at San Antonio (Sat): These are a pair of aging teams who will manage the playing time of their star players depending on the scheduling situation. San Antonio already took flak for employing that strategy a couple of weeks ago when they rested their star trio at Miami. Yet the Spurs are tied with Oklahoma City for the best record in the NBA, 17-4. 

Boston is just 11-9 in the weaker Eastern Conference. Both teams are playing a third game in four nights with San Antonio returning home from a 4 game road trip. The Spurs won at Boston by a dozen points in mid-November as 1½ point underdogs. They will be favored here this time but we should see a similar result. SAN ANTONIO.

LA Lakers at Philly (Sun): Kobe Bryant returns to the city of his youth with his struggling Lakers teammates. This game ends a 4 game road trip and a stretch of playing 7 of the last 8 games on the road. This is the Lakers’ third game in four nights and they face a Philadelphia team that has not had to play back to back games in more than a week. 

The Lakers are just 9-12 as they await the return from injury of Steve Nash, until which time a true assessment of the Lakers under new coach Mike D’Antoni cannot be made. The Sixers will be up for this game against their more heralded rival and might even be slight underdogs against a team that starts the week with just a 2-6 record on the road. PHILADELPHIA.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]

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About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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