New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets Prediction: Can You Trust the Home Team?

The NBA always gives us a nice slate of games for this special holiday, and today is no exception.
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New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets Prediction: Can You Trust the Home Team?

New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets Prediction

Click Here For Knicks vs Hornets Odds

As is tradition at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks will play host in the first game of the day, and this year, it couldn't be a more important matchup.

Fresh off a win in Atlanta to extend their winning streak to three games in a row and eight of their last 11, New York plays maybe its biggest game of the season against one of the teams immediately ahead of them in the standings. Win, and there's a chance they end today in 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Lose, and it could be 11th. That's how bunched up things are.

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Of the two, Tom Thibodeau's squad is playing the slightly better basketball, but not by much, having gone 8-3 over their last 11 with a 3.2 net rating to Charlotte's 7-4 record with a figure of positive 2.9. As usual, the Hornets are doing it with offense, while New York has revitalized its defense and ranks second in the league in that metric over this recent hot stretch.

This game is essentially a pick'em, so this comes down to which team you believe in. The Knicks have been playing well, and more importantly, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett have figured out how to be an effective one-two punch. New York also has some different bodies to throw at LaMelo Ball, and with Mitchell Robinson on the prowl down low, they'll be able to take away Charlotte's bread and butter, which is getting to the basket with regularity.

This should come down to the wire, but the Knicks are starting to get the look of last year's squad, and no Kelly Oubre Jr for the road team is no small loss. Give the point at home.

New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets Line Movement

New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets Pick

Chicago Bulls vs Memphis Grizzlies Prediction

Bulls vs Grizzlies Odds

Are the wheels starting to loosen a bit in Chicago? With four losses in their last game and key players Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and Javonte Green all out, it's a fair question to ask. DeMar DeRozan is still on the fringes of the MVP conversation but he can only do so much on his own, and they face a beast in this afternoon matchup today.

All good things must come to an end, and that's exactly what happened for Memphis three days ago, when they got humbled by the Dallas Mavericks at home to end their 11-game winning streak. It happens. It doesn't mean that everything they build leading up to that game has disappeared, and doesn't take the shine off of their own MVP candidate, Ja Morant.

How the Bulls plan to stop Ja today will be the big question, especially given how they have the league's 29th ranked defense over this rough five-game stretch. This spread grew by three points after the sharks got to attack it, so that should tell you all you need to know about where the smart money is going. Give the points at home.

Chicago Bulls vs Memphis Grizzlies Pick

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Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers Prediction

Jazz vs Lakers Odds

Vegas keeps giving the Lakers respect, and they keep thumbing their noses at it.

Despite coming off a 37-point road loss to the middling Nuggets, LA is getting a favorable spread here against a team that, when Rudy Gobert is in the lineup, is arguably the top squad in the league (at least during the regular season). Yes, Utah is playing on the second night of a back-to-back and is making the trip from Denver, where they just wiped the floor with the aforementioned Nuggets, but this line still isn't representative of where their teams are.

The Lakers continue to be a disaster, with a roster that wouldn't be good enough even if you replaced Russ with parts that actually made sense. LeBron James is playing at an MVP level, but he can't do it alone, and it's not like we haven't seen him falter before (see: two of his first three seasons in LA).

The only way you're taking the Lakers here is if you think the road back to back will be too much for the Jazz. I don't buy it. Give the points on the road with confidence.

Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers Pick

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insightpicks

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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