Firs round: Nets vs Knicks
take Knicks @6.25
New Jersey finished regular season with being nr. 2 at the Eastern Conference. Their winning record was 47-35, which actually was 3rd best at East. The big question here in this matchup for Nets is: How healthy is Kidd and how can he change the game. Kidd has had problems with his knee for about an half a year already and has been missing most of the games over last 2 months. When he returned, sadly Nets just kept losing. New Jersey is 2-4 over last 6 games playing with Martin and Kidd … so it is obvious that they don’t feel 100% fit yet. Of course we cant forget that New Jersey is two times Finalist over last two years and if they can get going their pick`n`roll game it is hard for any team in East to find a way to beat them.
If someone still remembers New York Knicks from the last season and compares Knicks nowadays its like two different teams. Most of all they have one of the best possible matchups guards against Jason Kidd – it is hometown hero Stephon Marbury by himself. Over last couple of years Knicks has been struggling to reach the play-offs, eversince Marbury came it was looking like a sure thing this year. Knicks of course has its own problems too, by missing their best shooter Allan Houston over last month, but Houston is now activated on the roster and will be in teams lineup, although will he play or not is still uncertaint. New York finished regular season with 3 wins over last 4 games and by resting important players. So all the other guys should be 100% ready for the play-offs.
Nets and Knicks met 4 times in regular this year and score was 3-1 for Nets. Still Knicks won the only game when they had Marbury in the team. Over the years Knicks has been the toughest team to beat in play-offs. Crusial for New York is to win all their home games at Madison Square Garden, which gives them a change to pull out the series win if they can win one away game. New Jersey has been in NBA Finals in last two years and will enter this first round matchup as a slight favourites.
Although Nets are the favourites it is still somehow open. If Kidd stays as sore as he was at the end of regular, New York will have a great chance. Knicks has players (Tim Thomas, Kurt Thomas) to stop Martin and Jefferson at low-post and at the same time Marbury will keep their offense going. Odds offered by bookies to New York for this series are quite generous. If New York can win at least one of first 2 games at New Jersey they will be very tough team to beat for Nets. Bookies have 6.25 for New York to go through. Take it with medium stakes.
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