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The two best January teams face off in Dallas while the Knicks are desperate for a win at home. NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Thursday night.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction: Who Comes Out on Top in the Game of the Month?

Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Thursday, January 20, 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: TNT

Click Here for Mavericks vs Suns Odds

Mavericks vs. Suns Betting Line Movement

Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction

We’re two-thirds of the way through January, and while there are no undefeated teams left for the month, there are still two with only one loss, and they face off tonight in Dallas.

Since the calendar flipped to 2022, the Suns and Mavs have separated themselves from the pack. They rank first and second in the NBA in net rating since January 1st, albeit in drastically different ways. Dallas has far and away the best defense in the sport over that time, holding teams to 98.2 points per 100 possessions – more than six points per 100 possessions better than the next best team. Put another way, the gap between them and the second-place Warriors over this time is larger than the gap between Golden State and the 15th place Nuggets.

Phoenix isn’t quite in a class of their own in offense, but they are scoring 118.2 points per 100 possessions since the new year. The difference between them and the Mavs is that while Dallas is stuck with a bottom 10 offense, the Suns have had one of the best defenses in basketball all season long. They are easily the best two-way team in basketball, and more than that, they’re consistent. In a season where almost no team can be counted on to show up from night to night, Phoenix is the exception to that rule.

Would it be nice if they were getting points on the road? Of course, especially against a team that has won 10 out of their last 11 and hasn’t lost a home game in nearly a month, back when Luka Doncic was still on the sideline.

The last thing to consider: in Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges, and Cam Johnson, the Suns have a number of bodies to throw on Luka without taxing their key offensive guys. Phoenix has won five in a row against the Mavs; tonight makes it six. Give the points on the road.

Mavericks vs. Suns Pick

New York Knicks vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction

When: 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass/MSG Network

Click here for Knicks vs Pelicans Odds

Almost all of the good vibes from New York’s season-best 8-3 stretch have fallen by the wayside over the last two games, as the Knicks came out flat in each of their last two games. After a dispiriting loss to the Hornets on Monday, they made a valiant comeback attempt against the Wolves on Tuesday night, only to falter down the stretch and loss their second straight at home.

To salvage the rest of the homestand, they’ll have to take care of business against the Pelicans. Since New Orleans won just three of their first 19 games, they’re over .500 with a nearly dead even net rating. They are by no means a bad team, although they may be missing starting point guard Devonte Graham here.

Still, New Orleans shows up and fights. Almost all of their losses over the last two months have either come against excellent teams or been very close losses.

The Knicks, meanwhile, aren’t above a no-show against anyone. While Kemba Walker’s return is ostensibly a good thing, we still haven’t seen all of the key players on this team look good for an entire game that Walker has played in. That said, New York is desperate. It’s hard to see them starting this home standoff 0-3 and they will probably find a way to win. Will they be able to cover a spread, even one this small? I’m not so sure, and this is probably best to stay away. If you must? Give the points at home.

Knicks vs. Pelicans Pick

Knicks vs. Pelicans Betting Line Movement

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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