After dropping two games in Boston the New York Knicks will be desperate for a win Friday night when they host the Celtics in Game 3 of their opening-round playoff series.
If there's one comfort the Knicks can take from their first two losses in the series it's that both games were at least close; that gives New York something to build on in Game 3. Unfortunately for the Knicks, injuries may wipe out that small positive.
In Game 2 the Celtics edged the Knicks 96-93 as a 6.5-point favorite. Rajon Rondo led Boston with 30 points and seven assists, and Paul Pierce put up 20 points. For the Knicks it was all about Carmelo Anthony, and it really had to be after Amar'e Stoudemire's bad back sidelined him for the entire second half. With Stoudemire missing the second half, and Chauncey Billups missing the entire game with an injured knee, Anthony carried the Knicks with a monumental 42 points, 17 rebounds, and six assists. It wasn't enough to get New York a win though.
On Friday night Anthony shouldn't have to be a one-man wrecking crew for New York again. Stoudemire is expected to play after an MRI on his ailing back came back clear. The prognosis for Billups isn't quite as good though, and he remains questionable with a knee so troublesome some reports are saying he'll need at least a week off before he'll be ready to play again.
Despite their injury concerns the Knicks are actually a 2-point home favorite on the latest NBA odds at Sportsbook.ag. New York hasn't found a way to beat the Celtics this season in six attempts, but they are 4-2 ATS which could make them a worthy pick if they remain the favorite on the NBA odds by the time tipoff arrives on Friday night.
The rest of the NBA playoff betting schedule for Friday includes Game 3 between Orlando and Atlanta (+1.5), and Game 3 between the Lakers and New Orleans (+4.5).
On Saturday night the Spurs and Grizzlies clash in Game 3 of their series in Memphis after splitting the first two games in San Antonio.
The Grizzlies finally won their first playoff game in franchise history with their 101-98 upset win in Game 1 as a 6.5-point underdog. The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, and his return in Game 2 proved to be the difference-maker as the Spurs struck back with a 93-87 win as 8-point chalk.
Ginobili played with a brace on his right arm to protect his injured elbow, but it didn't hinder him too much as he led the Spurs with 17 points. Tim Duncan was his usual reliable self with 16 points, while Reggie Jefferson and George Hill also netted 16 points each. The Grizzlies, big men weren't able to dominate in Game 2 like they did in the opener; Zach Randolph was held to 11 points and five boards after exploding for 25 and 14 in Game 1, while Marc Gasol had a huge night on the boards with 17 rebounds but only scored 12 points.
The Grizzlies are a small 2-point home favorite at Sportsbook.ag for Game 3. Memphis finished the regular season red-hot at home with an 8-1 record SU and a 7-2 mark ATS in their last nine at FedExForum. That included a 111-104 win over the Spurs as a 1-point favorite on March 27. Overall the Spurs are 1-3 in their last four games against Memphis and a lame 0-7 ATS in their last seven versus the Grizzlies.
Also on tap for Saturday on the NBA playoff betting schedule is Game 4 between Chicago and Indiana and Dallas and Portland, and Game 3 between Oklahoma City and Denver.