Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 12/25/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Friday, Dec 24, 2021
Time: Noon ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Where to watch: ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Knicks -6.5
BetMGM: Knicks -6.5
Caesars: Knicks -6.5

Season record
Hawks: 15-16 (10th place, Eastern Conference)
Knicks: 14-18 (12th place, Eastern Conference)

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Hawks - Knicks preview and analysis

Recent form
Hawks: won 98-96 at 76ers on Thursday
Knicks: lost 124-117 vs. Wizards on Thursday

The Christmas Day slate in the NBA is supposed to be one of the marquee nights of the year. COVID has ruined that. So many superstars not playing Saturday has really put a damper on things.

That also includes the day's opening game with the Atlanta Hawks visitng the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.

This was supposed to be the nationally televised matchup of Trae Young returning to MSG and giving one more bow to the home crowd like he did in the playoffs. Young will not be able to clear health and safety protocol in time for the game and will not play.

The same goes for Clint Capela, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Huerter and Lou Williams.

Somehow, the Hawks have split their last four games, including a 98-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. Five players scored in double figures led by Cam Reddish with 18 points. Skylar Mays had 14 points to go with 11 rebounds, and John Collins also had 17 points while being the primary assignment to Joel Embiid.

"We're bringing in guys from the G League that we really don't have time to practice with," said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. "The haven't had time to get with us on the floor. It's really difficult to put them in stuations to get out and play on the floor. You're limited in what you can do."

Atlanta actually had a 19-point lead before squandering it in the second quarter. Philadelphia battled back and had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, but Embiid missed his open 20-footer.

Nevertheless, it was still an important win for the Hawks despite all of those absences. That doesn't offset what the trip to New York could do for the Hawks if they get a win, but the resurgence of Kemba Walker has made things quite interesting in New York.

The Knicks are coming off a 7-point loss against the Washington Wizards, but Walker had a night to remember on the home floor Thursday night with 44 points; 28 of them came in the first half.

Since being put back into the starting lineup -- originally fallen out of favor by way of Alec Burks -- Walker is averaging 31.3 points over the past three games. Walker has gotten the run with RJ Barrett in COVID protocol; the young forward has been removed as of Thursday and could go back into the lineup for Saturday.

"It felt great. It was a good time. But I really wish we could have won, to be honest. "It's always tough when you really play well like that and don't come out on top."

The Knicks are as high as 6-point favorites in some books. That's a good line to have in this game despite the Knicks alternating wins and losses over the last five games. Atlanta is 2-4 against the spread in its last six, while New York is 2-5 in the past seven.


I don't want to throw dirt on Atlanta because there's enough talent to make a decent team that's good for a couple upsets. That said, the Knicks need a win and the Hawks are just too short-handed. Christmas Kemba could very well be a thing that we all enjoy. Knicks by 13

Betting trends

The Hawks are 8-21 ATS when a road dog between 6.5 and 12 points.

The Hawks are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 following a win of three points or less.

The Knicks are 37-25 ATS in their last 62 as a favorite.

Projected starting lineup

PG: Skylar Mays
SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic
Cam Reddish
John Collins
C: Onyeka Okongwu

PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Alec Burks
Evan Fournier
Julius Randle
Mitchell Robinson

Key injuries

Hawks: Trae Young (COVID, out), Delon Wright (day-to-day), Kevin Huerter (COVID, out), Lou Williams (COVID, out), Clint Capela (COVID, out), Danilo Gallinari (COVID, out), De’Andre Hunter (wrist, out)

Knicks: RJ Barrett (conditioning, out), Derrick Rose (ankle, out), Nerlens Noel (out)

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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