- The Utah Jazz are 11-point favorites at home on Tuesday night when they host the New York Knicks (9 pm ET)
- New York has one of the league’s best defenses, but Utah is one of the league’s hottest teams, powered by a talented backcourt
- Read below for analysis, odds and a pick on the game
The New York Knicks are off to their best start since the 2017-18 season, but when they tip off against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, they’ll be going up against one of the NBA’s hottest teams.
The Jazz have won their last eight games overall and against the spread, and are 11-point favorites tomorrow. That seems like a daunting task for the Knicks, but New York won their first matchup this season as 8-point underdogs at home on January 8, 112-100.
New York vs Utah Odds
|New York Knicks||+11 (-110)||+500||O 212.5 (-110)|
|Utah Jazz||-11 (-110)||-700||U 212.5 (-110)|
Odds taken from FanDuel on Jan. 25th
That game was also the last time the Jazz lost this season, and Tuesday night is the first of a back-to-back set of games for Utah — Dallas awaits them on Wednesday night. The only other time the Jazz played games on back-to-back nights, they lost both; Brooklyn shellacked them the night before their previous game against the Knicks, 130-96.
Model of Inefficiency
The Knicks have enjoyed a much better start to the season despite their offensive troubles. New York has the slowest pace of play in the league this season and scores the fewest points per game.
Statistically, they have managed to offset that by having some of the best defensive averages in the NBA. The Knicks have only allowed an average of 103.6 points per game and they’ve held opponents to just 43% shooting, both tops in the league.
Julius Randle gives the Knicks the lead late in the 4th 😤
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 18, 2021
Unfortunately for New York, the Knicks’ offense is dealing with the same level of production their defense has imposedon other teams. Julius Randle has been the driving force for New York on offense, but has shot below 40% from the field in three of his last four games. Starting guard RJ Barrett has shot just 25% from three-point range this season.
Austin Rivers, of all people, dropped in 23 points and made 5-of-7 three-point attempts in New York’s last game against Utah. However, he has made just one three in his last three games played, and is day-to-day with an achilles injury, which has kept him out of two of the Knicks’ last three games.
Big Potential for Utah’s Backcourt
The Knicks are reliant on the play of their frontcourt between Randle and center Mitchell Robinson, and on most nights, they get a big offensive lift from second-chance buckets. Even though they came away with a win against the Jazz earlier in the month, that might be an exception rather than the rule due to the reliability of Utah’s guards.
Donovan Mitchell had him stumbling 🤭
— ESPN (@espn) January 22, 2021
Donovan Mitchell is averaging 24.3 points and is shooting 40% from three this season for Utah, and has put incredible pressure on opponents with veteran point guard Mike Conley. In his 12th season, Conley is averaging 16.4 points per game and hitting 42% of his three-point attempts.
Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson is watching his stock soar this season as a potential sixth-man of the year candidate, and he is playing well above his career averages in every major statistical category.
Mike Conley taking and hitting these tells me everything I need to know… pic.twitter.com/rR8HVPnz8V
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) January 24, 2021
The Knicks have been the best team in the league at defending the three-ball, but Utah has the league’s highest average of points scored from three-point attempts this season. Four of the last six teams the Knicks have played are in the bottom third of the league in terms of points scored from threes, so their strength in that area may be a bit misleading, considering how strong the Jazz are at pouring them in.
Making the Play
Neither team is looking to run up-and-down the court, and both teams have fallen under projected point totals in most of their games this season. New York is a respectable 6-5 ATS on the road this season, but this is their fourth consecutive road game on a west coast swing. Moreover, the Jazz are firing on all cylinders and coming off two days of rest. The under on 212.5-points is worth considering, but there is simply too much working in Utah’s favor to not take them with the points.
The Pick: Utah -11 (-110)
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