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Friday's NBA predictions and picks come to us from NBA expert Jonathan Macri. Jonathan has his HAwks vs. Grizzlies prediction, as well as Suns vs. Knicks

Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction: Can the Hawks Stay on Track?

Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction

Hawks vs. Grizzlies odds

Through the first dozen games of the NBA season, there was perhaps no more disappointing team than the Atlanta Hawks. Last season’s surprise Eastern Conference Finalist started the year losing two games for every win, with a 4-8 record and a negative 4.3 net rating that ranked just 23rd in the league.

The culprit? Their defense, which was only a hair stingier than the worst unit in the NBA. Even more surprising than that, their worst player by on/off defensive metrics was Clint Capela, who last season was in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. The Hawks were giving up about 20 more points per 100 possessions when Capela played than when he didn’t.

Starting with a November 12 loss in Denver in which they managed to hold Nikola Jokic & Co. to 105 points, Atlanta has started to resemble last season’s unit that gave opposing offenses just enough fits. Perhaps more importantly, their offense has risen to another level.

The Hawks have the league’s top offense by a comfortable margin over their six game winning streak, scoring more than 121 points per 100 possessions. Their opponent tonight? That would be the Memphis Grizzlies, who have given up a league-worst 120 points per 100 possessions over their last six games, and are the 30th ranked unit in basketball for the entire season, with a defense that has a rating three and a half points worse than the 29th ranked Magic.

The Grizzlies are getting the benefit of the doubt here because of their smoke and mirrors 9-9 record. According to Cleaning the Glass, no team in basketball has been outpacing their point differential over the first six weeks of the season.

Even though this game is at home, their luck will run out tonight. Happily take the road team.

Hawks vs. Grizzlies Pick

Phoenix Suns vs. New York Knicks Prediction

Suns vs. Knicks odds

Death, taxes, and maddening Knicks games. These are the only certainties in life.

After 18 contests, the only guarantee is that when New York plays, they will pack in moments of both euphoria and despair, all within 48 minutes of basketball. Their latest entry: building a 25-point second quarter lead against the LeBron-less Lakers, only to blow it all and find themselves tied an in a dogfight down the stretch.

That’s the 2021-22 Knicks in a nutshell. They have been in every game they’ve played this season, both for better and worse. Only twice have they run away with games, but on the flip side, they have never been out of a game in the last five minutes.

You’d think that last mark will be tested tonight as they face the team with the longest winning streak in the NBA at 14 games. Upon closer examination, that might not be the case. The Suns have dropped five of six games against the spread, and over the last 10 days, have barely won home games against the Mavs and the Jokic-less Nuggets while escaping with slim margins against the Spurs and Cavs on the road.

The Knicks fall into this bucket of inconsistent teams that have a higher ceiling than they’ve shown, and their recent performance against LA is more encouraging than not. The possible absence of Derrick Rose, who missed Tuesday’s game with a sore ankle, is worth monitoring, but even so, New York never goes down without a fight.

They also specialize in defying expectations. The Suns are the better team, but the Knicks will be up to the task here. Take the points at home.

Suns vs. Knicks Picks

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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