Permit a one-time departure from the normal introduction to this column but it is time to vent. Not as a bettor, but as a fan.
As a native New Yorker born roughly in the midpoint of the Baby Boomer generation I had the great fortune of being a teenager in the glory years of New York sports.
Within a 16-month period that stretched from January 12, 1969 through May 8, 1970 the New York Jets won Super Bowl III, the Miracle Mets won the World Series and the New York Knickerbockers won the NBA Title.
TV had recently become a blossoming technology and pro sports had yet to become the multi-billion dollar a year business it is today. The term “free agency” had not yet become part of the sports lexicon and the vast majority of star players played their entire careers with one team.
That was a long time ago!
Since those halcyon days of yesteryear the Jets have not made it even back to the Super Bowl while the Mets have made it back to the World Series three times, winning the Series in what might have been baseball’s greatest overall postseason in 1986.
The Knicks followed up that 1969-70 NBA Title with another title three seasons later but have made it to just a pair of NBA Finals since, losing in 7 games to Houston in the 1993-94 season and in 5 games to San Antonio five seasons later.
Since then the Knicks have been mostly irrelevant when it comes to being NBA contenders but the franchise has sunk to a new low.
Phil Jackson, a key component of the Knicks’ second NBA Title as a player and then winning 11 championships as a coach (with Chicago and L.A. Lakers), was brought in during the latter part of last season to take over basketball operations for the Knicks.
His first major decision was to hire one of his favorite former players, Derek Fisher, to coach the Knicks while Jackson would mold the Knicks into a contending team.
New York starts this week with the worst record in the NBA, 5-35, on pace to lose at least 70 games. They have lost 15 straight games and 25 of their last 26. After going 3-2 ATS in the first five games of their current losing streak, the Knicks are on a 1-8-1 ATS run.
Their last eight losses have all been by double digits and the low point was reached this past Saturday.
The Knicks outscored the Charlotte Hornets, 38-21 in the fourth quarter. That outburst made the final score Charlotte 110, New York 82.
You read that correctly. The Knicks trailed the Hornets by 45 points after three quarters. And that was a home game!
The game started competitively enough with Charlotte holding a 21-18 lead after the first quarter.
But then a lack of effort kicked in and the Knicks were outscored 41-13 in the second quarter and, after making halftime adjustments, 27-13 in the third quarter. That loss to the Hornets made it 12 straight home losses and seven straight ATS home losses.
The only meaningful category in which the Knicks can be successful is in betting against them. New York is now 13-26-1 ATS for the season, the worst pointspread record in the league.
Here’s a look at three games this weekend.
Portland at San Antonio (Fri.): Portland starts the week with the second best record in the West while San Antonio is seeded seventh at 23-15. San Antonio continues to dole out rest to several of its aging veterans as coach Gregg Popovich knows that being healthy and fresh for the Playoffs is more important than earning a top seed.
Portland has won both prior meetings this season, each played within the past month. The Blazers won by 13 at home and four days later won here by 10 (in 3 overtimes).
San Antonio does pick its spots for going all out and this should be one of those spots against a potential Playoff opponent. SAN ANTONIO.
Atlanta at Chicago (Sat.): Atlanta is 29-8, the best record in the East. Chicago is not far behind at 26-12 despite nagging injuries to several key players that have plagued the Bulls since the season began.
Atlanta won the only prior meeting this season, 93-86 in mid December. Over the past month Chicago has won and covered 4 straight as single digit home favorites. CHICAGO.
Orleans at Toronto (Sun.): Both teams last played on Friday and both also will play road games on Monday. After playing well for most of the season Toronto just snapped a 4 game losing streak but at 25-11 the Raptors still sit second in the East. New Orleans has been treading water all season, sitting 18-18 through Sunday and sitting ninth in the highly competitive West.
In Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have one of the NBA’s next generation of super stars and his game continues to improve on almost a nightly basis.
Toronto deservedly will be favored although Davis will be the best player on the court. They also enter this week having covered 5 in a row as road underdogs with outright wins at Chicago and San Antonio. NEW ORLEANS.
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]