NBA Update: Knicks, Nuggets take 3-2 advantages

NBA Update: Knicks, Nuggets take 3-2 advantages

New York (57-36 straight up, 49-41-3 against the spread) bounced back from a blowout loss in Game 4 at Indiana to return the favor Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden and take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Knicks shook off an early seven-point deficit to take the lead for good by ending the first quarter on a 22-10 run.

From there, Tom Thibodeau’s team rolled to a 121-91 win as a 1.5-point home favorite. New York led 69-54 at halftime, easily cashing tickets for its backers on first-half bets as a one-point ‘chalk.’

Indiana (53-41 SU, 49-41-3 ATS) cut the deficit to seven thanks to three consecutive treys by Myles Turner in a 64-second stretch early in the third quarter, but New York responded with a 19-1 surge and coasted to victory the rest of the way.

The 212 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 217.5-point total thanks to just 16 points from the Pacers in the fourth quarter and 37 in the second half.

Jalen Brunson enjoyed another spectacular performance, scoring 44 points to go with seven assists and four rebounds. Josh Hart and Alec Burks finished with 18 points apiece, with Burks draining 5-of-8 launches from downtown while Hart snagged 11 rebounds.

Miles McBride added 17 points and four assists compared to only one turnover, while Isaiah Hartenstein contributed seven points, 17 rebounds, one blocked shot and five assists with just one turnover. The Knicks destroyed Indiana on the glass with a 53-29 rebounding advantage.

Pascal Siakam scored a team-best 22 points and had eight rebounds in the losing effort. Turner finished with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, but he coughed up four of the Pacers’ 18 turnovers. Tyrese Haliburton had 13 points, five assists, two rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, most books had Indiana installed as a five-point home favorite for Friday’s Game 6 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The total was 216 points, and the Knicks were +175 on the money line.

The first two games of the series soared ‘over’ the totals with combined scores of 238 and 251 points. However, the ‘under’ has cashed in three consecutive contests that have netted combined scores of 217, 210 and 212 points.

FanDuel has the Knicks as -265 favorites for its updated series price, leaving the Pacers as +210 underdogs. The betting shop has Boston as a -600 ‘chalk’ to win the East, followed by New York (+550), Indiana (17/1) and Cleveland (490/1).

Since losing Games 1 and 2 at home, Denver (64-28 SU, 43-48-1 ATS) has ripped off three wins in a row both SU and ATS to take a 3-2 series lead over Minnesota. The Nuggets put on an offensive clinic in the third quarter of Tuesday’s Game 5, as Nikola Jokic scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting to break open a close game.

Mike Malone’s team saw the Timberwolves go on a 6-0 run early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 10 points, but Denver answered with an 8-0 surge and pulled away for a 112-97 win as a four or 4.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 209 combined points went ‘over’ the 204-point total.

Jokic was nothing short of sensational, finishing with 40 points, seven rebounds, two steals, one blocked shot and 13 assists without a turnover. The three-time NBA MVP hit 15-of-22 field-goal attempts, 2-of-3 shots from 3-point territory and 8-of-9 free throws.

Aaron Gordon added 18 points, 10 boards and five assists, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his best game of the series with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. The University of Georgia product made 6-of-8 FGAs and 4-of-5 launches from beyond the arc.

Jamal Murray contributed 16 points and four assists, while Christian Braun added 10 points, five rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal in 28 workmanlike minutes off the bench.

Playing without starting point guard Mike Conley, who is ‘questionable’ for Thursday’s Game 6 after sitting out last night with an Achilles injury, Minnesota (62-29 SU, 47-44 ATS) had trouble getting Anthony Edwards good looks.

Denver brought more than 40 double-teams at Edwards, forcing him to pass the ball rather than attack. The result was a series-low 18 points for Edwards, who made merely 5-of-15 FGAs and 1-of-5 from 3-point land.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored a team-best 23 points to go with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Rudy Gobert, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, got abused by Jokic all night long, but he did provide 18 points, 11 boards, three assists, two blocks and two steals.

Without Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker moved into the starting lineup and played 39 minutes and change. He buried 4-of-8 from long distance and finished with 14 points, two blocks, one rebound and five assists compared to only one turnover.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, most spots had Minnesota listed as a two or 2.5-point home favorite in Game 6. The total was 204.5 points, and the Nuggets were +110 on the money line.

For its updated series price, FanDuel has Denver as a -500 favorite with the Timberwolves at +360 odds.

Going into Thursday’s doubleheader, FanDuel has the Celtics as -135 ‘chalk’ to win the 2024 NBA Finals. The next-shortest odds belong to the Nuggets (+260), the Thunder (+800 or 8/1), the Mavericks (15/1), the Timberwolves (17/1), the Knicks (21/1), the Pacers (85/1) and the Cavaliers (100,000/1).

FanDuel is also offering a bet on The Field (+105) vs. Boston’s -135 price.

Denver is the -125 favorite to win the West, followed by OKC (+275), Dallas (+500) and Minnesota (+700).