Pro Hoops on Christmas Day and we will see the New York Knicks travel to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Lakers. The game is scheduled for a 3:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised live on ABC. Currently the odds for the game have Miami favored by 3.5 points while the total sits at 214. Check out Sportsbook Spy to see who the Public is taking on all of today's games.
Free Analysis: The Knicks have won seven of their past 10 games, but have lost two of their past five contests. Some of New York's shooters have been struggling lately, but SF Carmelo Anthony has picked up the slack. The early season MVP candidate is averaging 31.0 PPG on 44.4% shooting from the field in the three games he’s played since spraining his ankle. Anthony is averaging 1.0 BPG and 2.0 SPG as well in those three games. Anthony averages 22.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in 28 career games against the Lakers. SG J.R Smith has also been playing some of his best basketball of the season, averaging 19.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.2 APG over the past five games. He has been a huge spark off the bench for the Knicks and has really made up for the poor shooting of his teammates. PG Jason Kidd must find his shot again as he is just 4-of-16 from three-point land in his past three games.
The Lakers are finally healthy and able to put their four superstars - Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant - on the court together. The Lakers' sensational foursome struggled at times in its grand reunion Saturday, but managed to pull out a 118-115 overtime win over Golden State thanks to a 34-point, 10-rebound showing from Bryant. Point guard Steve Nash made his return to the Los Angeles lineup Saturday after missing nearly two months with a broken bone in his leg. Head coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't shy about using his two-time NBA MVP, letting him rack up 41 minutes in the overtime victory. Kobe Bryant has been stellar this season and over the past five games has averaged 31.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 6.2 APG. Despite his 16-of-41 shooting performance from the field against the Warriors and his 9-for-29 FG against the Wizards, Kobe is still connecting on 42% FG over the past five games. After shooting just 45.1 percent from the free-throw line in November, Dwight Howard is up to 57.1 percent in 11 December games.
Free Pick: I like the Under in this one. I realize that both teams play an uptempo style of ball and that these teams combined for 223 points in an earlier meeting at New York. But Knick road games have been a bit lower scoring than their home games, while Laker home games have been pretty low scoring as well. Knick road games this year have averaged 198.7 ppg and they have played pretty good defense overall (96.5 ppg) and on the road 97.8 ppg. A big problem for the Lakers this year has been their defense, but at home they have played very good defense, allowing just 96.1 ppg. They will be facing a Knicks squad that other than Carmelo has been struggling to shoot lately as they have hit just 43.7% of their shots in their last 5 games. I look for a better defensive effort from both teams than in the first meeting and that should keep this game under 205 at best.
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