Knicks vs. Heat
Clippers vs. Grizzlies
The seventh-seeded New York Knicks finally showed some life in avoiding a sweep against the second-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs. However, New York still needs to win three more Games to take out the heavily favored Heat, including Game 5 in Miami on Wednesday.
The Knicks pulled off an improbable 89-87 victory in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday to snap an NBA-record 13-Game playoff losing streak behind 41 points from All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. The former Syracuse great has been criticized throughout this series for his poor shooting but managed to sink 15 of 29 attempts from the field after hitting just 22 of 64 (34 percent) and averaging 21 points in the first three Games.
New York also got a boost from Amare Stoudemire, who was not expected to play after cutting his hand following a 104-94 loss in Game 2. Stoudemire sat out Game 3 but scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his return to help the Knicks cover as 7.5-point home underdogs.
The Heat (-11) are double-digits favorites for the first time in this series though and won the first three Games by an average of 20 points. They have still won six of the last seven meetings with New York, going 5-2 against the spread. The UNDER is 8-1 in the past nine Games between the teams.
The fifth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers also have an opportunity to close out the Fourth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference playoffs, but they will be trying to win as road underdogs. The Grizzlies (-6) have lost three Games by a combined six points and will need better play from their big men to get their second victory of the series. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for just 20 points on 9 of 23 shooting and 12 rebounds in a 101-97 overtime loss in Game 4 on Sunday while LA’s Blake Griffin scored 30 on his own.
The Clippers split the first two Games in Memphis, rallying back from a 27-point deficit to stun the Grizzlies 99-98 in Game 1. LA forward Caron Butler sat out the team’s only loss in Game 2 due to a hand injury but has played in the last two wins, scoring 14 points on Sunday. The winner of this series will play the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, who completed a Four-Game sweep of the Utah Jazz on Monday.