The Knicks and Warriors need road wins to force Game 7s.
Both New York and Golden State enter Friday night down 3-2 in their playoff series. The Knicks need to win against the Heat (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), while the Warriors need to get their first road win of the series over the Lakers to force a Game 7 at home on Sunday.
As you can imagine, both teams are road underdogs after Game 5 wins to extend each series. The Heat is favored by 5.5 points, while the Lakers are favored by 2.5 points.
The Knicks beat the Heat 112-103 on Wednesday night to force a Game 6 and are back in Miami after losing the previous two games of the series in South Florida. The Heat won Game 3 by 19 and Game 4 by eight.
The recipe for a Game 5 win was familiar for the Knicks. Jalen Brunson had 38, R.J. Barrett had 26 and Julius Randle had 24. No other player on the Knicks had more than eight. If a fourth option can emerge on Friday night, we like the Knicks’ chances a lot more. Otherwise, it’s hard to go away from Jimmy Butler in a home clincher.
The NBA would swoon over a Game 7 between the Lakers and Warriors to follow a Game 7 between the Sixers and Celtics on Sunday. After losing Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles, the Warriors easily won Game 5 in San Francisco as Anthony Davis exited with a head injury.
Davis looks set to go on Friday night. Less certain is the status of the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins. He’s currently listed as questionable because of a rib cartilage fracture. Wiggins is vital to the Warriors’ chances and a reason we’d either back the Lakers or stay away from this line entirely until knowing if he’s playing or not. While we’re not in the business of saying Golden State is toast until it's actually eliminated, the chances of advancing in the playoffs are much better with Wiggins on the floor.
The over/under in this one is at 221.5 and whatever side you lean towards may be associated with whatever team you think is going to win. The Warriors have scored at least 121 points in each of their two wins in the series and have failed to break 101 points in each of their three losses. A low-scoring game favors the Lakers.
A full baseball slate
It’s a full evening of Major League Baseball with all 30 teams in action on Friday night. The first games start at 6:40 p.m. ET with Cincinnati at Miami and Seattle at Detroit and the action ends in Los Angeles with a big series between the Padres and Dodgers.
The biggest American League matchup is Tampa Bay at New York. Gerrit Cole is on the mound for the Yankees while Trevor Kelley starts for the Rays. The Yankees are favored in that one.
The Dodgers are favored over the Padres as well as Dustin May starts for Los Angeles against Blake Snell. Los Angeles is -145 to win straight up while the Padres are +120. San Diego is four games back of the Dodgers in the NL West as Los Angeles has the second-best record in the league behind Atlanta.
Who cashed tickets Thursday?
The Nuggets easily covered on the road against Phoenix in a huge Game 6 win. Denver won by 25 to eliminate the Suns from the playoffs and advance to the Western Conference finals against either the Lakers or Warriors. The Celtics slugged out a win and cover in the fourth quarter to force Game 7 against the Sixers. That game easily went under as Boston won 95-86.