NBA Predictions - Spurs vs. Knicks Prediction- 13 May 2021
The final Thursday of the NBA season features nine games, all of which have playoff implications, with more than half the games pitting two teams each with something to fight for. We start with the one between good teams that are headed in opposite directions.
After the Blazers lost their second consecutive home game to the Memphis Grizzlies on April 25, their season appeared to be all but over. They’d lost nine of 11 games and Damian Lillard was deep in the worst shooting funk he’d experienced in years.
That was then, and this is now. Lillard and the Blazers have both come alive, with Dame averaging 30 a game in the nine contests after that second Memphis game while hitting 52 percent from the field and 49 percent from deep on nearly 10 3-point attempts per game.
Heading into last night’s matchup with the Utah Jazz – a 105-98 Blazer win - Portland had the second best net rating in the league over those nine games, with five wins by 19 points or more. Unsurprisingly, they were six for nine in covering the spread in those games.
Now they head to Phoenix to face the Suns, who are suddenly scuffling at the wrong time, losers of three of four and looking vulnerable heading into the playoffs.
Once the league’s top team at covering the spread, Phoenix has made bettors happy just 12 times in their last 28 games, with 14 drops and two pushes. They are no longer anything close to a safe bet.
The season-long numbers might not indicate as much, but the recent play of both teams makes this pick an easy decision.
The Pick: Portland +5.5 @ -110 (Click here to bet)
The Knicks haven’t been soundly beaten very often this season, but it happened the last time these two teams met up back in early March, when New York got blitzed in San Antonio, 119-93.
Since then, it’s been a tale of two different teams. Over the second half of this season, the Knicks have the eighth best net rating in basketball, with six more wins than losses and with very few exceptions, a track record full of close games.
Meanwhile the Spurs have succumbed to a compacted schedule as the result of first half COVID-related cancelations. They’re seven games under .500 with a negative 1.6 net rating, good for 21st in the NBA over that time.
The other big difference this time around is that New York was without Derrick Rose for that first game. Aside from MVP candidate Julius Randle, Rose has easily become the Knicks’ second most important player, serving as the secondary engine to Randle and propping up New York’s bench units to become among the most devastating in the league. He also closes haves for them thanks to an on-court net rating that is among the best in basketball. He’s questionable for this one, but with seeding on the line, the guess here is that he plays.
As they have been for almost this entire year, Thibs & Co. will be ready to go, looking to improve upon their league-best 64.7 success rate against the spread.
The Pick: New York -5 @ -105 (Click here to bet)
Other NBA Predictions - Thursday, May 13
Los Angeles Clippers at Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets haven’t beaten a good team since before Gordon Hayward went down with an injury and the Clippers are still fighting for the three seed. LA will take care of business.
Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers
The Bucks still have a chance at a two-seed and avoiding a possible matchup with the Heat in round one. They’re the better team and are heavily motivated. Don’t overthink it.
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat
The Sixers need this to clinch the top seed in the East while the Heat are playing as well as any team in the NBA and have to have this game to maintain their chance at landing in the 4/5 matchup. This will be close; take the points.
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks
The Magic are 8-25 since the All Star break and are getting outscored by 11.2 points per 100 possessions during that time. Worse yet, they’re 5-12 against the spread in their last 17. The Hawks are 22-11 since the break and have something to play for. This won’t be close.
Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls
The Raptors have lost seven of eight games as they mercifully limp to the end of their season. The Bulls have won and covered three of four and look revitalized with Zach LaVine back in the lineup. Take the hotter team at home.
Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis comes into this back to back against Sacramento having won three straight and pushing their cover rate just over 60 percent, which is the second best mark in the league behind the Knicks. They’ll take care of business against the shorthanded Kings.
Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves
The hottest team against the spread in the league over the last several weeks is about to get a rude awakening. The Nuggets are in a different weight class from most of the teams Minnesota has been staying competitive with and occasionally beating, and they haven’t lost to a team under .500 since dropping a game to the Raptors on March 24. It won’t happen here either.
Thursday, May 13 NBA Predictions & Expert Picks
Portland +5.5 @ -110 (Click here to bet)
New York -5 @ -105 (Click here to bet)
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