NBA Thursday: Two Big Showdowns

After a very eventful day in the Association yesterday, Thursday will be quite a bit quieter, with only two games on the wagering menu. However, the two games that are tipping-off tonight are pretty big match-ups, one of which will showcase two of the best teams in the East. So, you’ll want to tune in to TNT tonight at 8:00 EST to check on the action and see how your bets are shaping up. Here is a brief breakdown of today’s games and what to think about before hitting up the sportsbook.

New York Knicks 13-4 at Miami Heat 12-4

If Anthony plays, look for the Knicks to be competitive

The Knicks have stayed hot, while the Heat may be cooling off. New York is currently on a four-game winning streak, coming off a buzzer beater win against the Charlotte Bobcats last night 100-98. Meanwhile, the Heat suffered a brutal loss to the Washington Wizards, marking Washington’s second win of the season.

The Knicks offense has been extremely productive during the streak with Carmelo Anthony leading the way. Anthony is averaging more than 26 points per game so far this season, but may be unavailable for tonight’s contest in Miami, after leaving last night’s game with two minutes in regulation with a deep cut to his left middle finger.

Miami’s offense has thrived as of late too. As a team Miami is scoring more than 104 points per contest, nearly 65 of which is accounted for by the Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh).

The bad news for the Knicks, besides possibly missing their leading scorer, is that the Heat are 8-0 at home this season and I don’t think that streak will end tonight. Look for Miami to win outright, but only cover the -7.5 point spread if Anthony is ruled out. If he plays, expect the Knicks to keep things close in the loss on the road.

Dallas Mavericks 8-10 at Phoenix Suns 7-12

Can the Mavs limit Dragic?

Although the Suns are currently on a four-game skid, they still are willing to give their fans a full refund if they don’t enjoy themselves at the game tonight against the Mavericks. It’s part of an unprecendented offer and an attempt to generate interest in a team without many star players.

Dallas is still without its star Dirk Nowitzki, but the Mavs are still managing nearly 100 points per game on offense. However, the Mavs have lost three-straight on the road and it won’t get easier in Phoenix, where the Suns are 5-3 this season.

The Mavericks backcourt, consisting of O.J. Mayo and Derek Fisher, will have to step up defensively against the Suns’ hottest players Goran Dragic and Shannon Brown in order to win this one and it will be a tall order considering Mayo is not particularly strong on the defensive side and Fisher, a new acquisition, has only spent a week with the team. Look for the Suns to win this one and cover -3 points at home, while satisfying the fans.