NBA Christmas Day Betting Preview - Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks
The Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks are having a rough time this season, as they both sit outside of the top-10 in the Eastern Conference.
But their emotionally charged first-round playoff series made them a must-add to the NBA Christmas Day slate, as both teams look for a win that will propel them to better days in 2022.
While injuries and health and safety protocols will undoubtedly impact the outcome of this game, the crowd at Madison Square Garden will be as excited as ever in trying to help the Knicks get a victory.
Coming into Christmas Day, the Atlanta Hawks have been struggling, with health and safety protocols really tearing into their roster ahead of this matchup with the Knicks. Trae Young, who served as a villain against the Knicks in last year’s playoff series, will be out for the Hawks for this game.
But Young is just the tip of the iceberg, as key contributors like Danilo Gallinari and Clint Capela are also in health and safety protocols and poised to miss out on this contest.
Atlanta playing on the road leading up to this contest against the Knicks is also not a positive for them. The Hawks play in Philadelphia on Thursday night before going to Madison Square Garden on Saturday to face the Knicks.
While this usually wouldn’t be a huge issue with a day of rest in between games, the depleted Hawks’ roster may not stand up to travel quite as well as a fully healthy team would.
New York Knicks
Things have been tough for the New York Knicks this season, even if they have taken advantage of some of the easier games on their schedule lately. The Knicks have won two of their last three, with those wins against bottom-feeders in the Rockets and Pistons.
Here, the Knicks are at home on Christmas Day but will have to overcome some critical losses from a health standpoint.
Derrick Rose is set to miss the next couple of months after having surgery on his ankle, which will negatively impact the Knicks’ second unit in a big way. Immanuel Quickley should also be out for this game while in the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Knicks could have RJ Barrett back for this game, and the Knicks will have revenge on their minds against the Hawks team that ended their return to the postseason early a season ago.
Keys To The Game
For the Hawks, the biggest key to this game will be the performance of John Collins. With so many key players missing for the Hawks ahead of this game, Collins’ absence from the injury report will make him an essential focal point for Atlanta.
He is dangerous both making runs to the rim and shooting from the outside, and he will need to be sharp from all over the floor offensively against the defensively-challenged Knicks.
New York’s biggest key in this game is their defense, which has been a problem for them all year long. This Knicks team has been beaten on their home floor by the lowly Orlando Magic and an injury-ravaged Nuggets team previously this season.
To avoid the same result here, they must defend with aplomb.
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