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NBA SO/UP Picks and Analysis for Tuesday, December 14: Warriors-Knicks, Suns-Blazers

Stephen Curry is going for the all-time three-pointers record in New York Tuesday night.

The Warriors and Suns, the two best teams in the NBA, take the court Tuesday night. Golden State is favored on the road against the Knicks as Stephen Curry chases down Ray Allen for first place on the all-time three-pointers list. Phoenix is a road favorite as well against the struggling Trail Blazers.

SI host Robin Lundberg is this week's guest picker. Let's get into the games.

Season record: 41-37
Guest pickers: 22-50

Check the Latest NBA Lines at SI Sportsbook

steph curry thumb

Golden State Warriors (22-5) vs. New York Knicks (12-15)

  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT
  • Spread: Warriors -4.5 (-110) | Knicks +4.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Warriors (-200) | Knicks (+165)
  • Total: Under 211.5 (-110) | Over 211.5 (-110)

Injuries: Warriors F Andre Iguodala—Out; Knicks F Obi Toppin—Out; Knicks G RJ Barrett—Out; Knicks G Alec Burks—Day-to-day

The Warriors narrowly beat the Pacers Monday night in Indiana, and Stephen Curry nearly broke the all-time three-pointers record. He'll get another try on basketball's biggest stage: Madison Square Garden. Golden State is 4-3 in its last seven games, which, by its high standards, counts as "struggling" after an 18-2 start.

Golden State has the No. 3 scoring offense in the NBA, averaging 112.1 PPG. Curry is getting huge contributions from Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole on offense, and Draymond Green is as dominant as ever on the league's top-ranked defense.

New York is off to a 1-5 start in December. Removing Kemba Walker from the lineup has seemingly created more issues than it caused. The Knicks are 2-7 without him and 10-8 with him. Julius Randle is also shooting a career-worst field-goal percentage and has been held under 10 points three times already.

Without Randle playing at his All-Star level, N.Y. no longer has a stout defense to fall back on. The Knicks are No. 17 in scoring defense (107.4 PPG) and rank 22nd in scoring offense (105.8 PPG). In many of their recent games, the Knicks haven't been competitive, losing by 15 to the Bucks, 20 against the Pacers and by 14 to the Nuggets within the last week.

With nothing backing this whatsoever, it's hard to picture the Warriors celebrating Curry making history on the most famous court in the country and losing. Okay, now for the mathematical reasons Golden State covers. The Warriors are 17-9-1 Against the Spread (ATS) this season, the second-best mark in the league. The Knicks are 11-16 ATS, the third-worst mark in basketball. New York is 5-9 at home, and Golden State is 8-3 on the road. The Warriors have lost a few games recently, but the Knicks are in free fall. This is an easy cover for the Dubs and ends in a huge celebration at MSG.

Spread pick: Warriors -4.5

The Warriors have the best defense in the NBA, and the Knicks have failed to score 100 points in back-to-back games. Golden State also has a top-three scoring offense, though their scoring numbers have been down in the last few weeks. Warriors games go under 73.1% of the time; Knicks games go under 55.6%.

Over/Under pick: Under 211.5

Curry, by his standards, has been contained in the last three games—26, 18 and 22 points are all below his season average of 27. Who's to say if the record is on his mind or opponents are actively trying to avoid the record being set against them. However, when he does break the record, likely at some point in the first half, the pressure is off, and he can shoot freely. Curry went for 37 the last time he played at the Garden. Scoring 26 is not a high bar for him to clear.

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Prop: Stephen Curry Over 25.5 Points

Guest picker Robin Lundberg's picks

I don't want to make this pick clearly caught up in the drama of Steph Curry breaking the three-point record at Madison Square Garden because there are reasons to pick the Knicks. Mainly because the Warriors flew in today and are on a back-to-back, not to mention that New York is desperate for a win. However, I have successfully picked against the Knicks amid their current regression, and they will be without Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett. Also, the Knicks penchant for playing through slow-moving Julius Randle isolations should play right into the hands of the Warriors' swarming defense. And then there is Steph's flair for the dramatic.

Spread pick: Warriors -4.5

I could see the Warriors getting up early in the hype of getting Curry the record and then taking the foot off the gas a bit as the game goes on. They also may be gassed come the second half. I already brought up that I like their defense in a matchup against the Knicks style of attack, and New York has been held under 100 points in three of the last five contests, with an output of 102 being one of the exceptions. So I like the under here.

Over/Under pick: Under 211.5

Draymond has been very vocal about the circumstances of this game. Given that and the attention on this one, I bet he plays with a little extra energy (and that means a lot). Also, with the attention on Steph, Green may be making a lot of plays as an outlet for Curry and his usual all-around impact.

Prop: Draymond Green over 21.5 points plus rebounds plus assists

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets.

Phoenix Suns (21-5) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (11-16)

  • Time: 10 p.m. ET, TNT
  • Spread: Suns -1.5 (-110) | Trail Blazers +1.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Suns (-118) | Trail Blazers (+100)
  • Total: Under 219.5 (-110) | Over 219.5 (-110)

Injuries: Suns C DeAndre Ayton—Day-to-day; Suns G Devin Booker—Out; Trail Blazers G C.J. McCollum—Out; Trail Blazers C Cody Zeller—Out

The Suns have slowed down a bit after their 18-game winning streak. In the last week, Phoenix lost to the Warriors and Clippers, both by double-digits, while Devin Booker remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Phoenix has had plenty of players step up in Booker's absence, while Deandre Ayton and Frank Kaminsky have missed time. Eight Suns players average 10 or more points, including McGee, a spot starter at center.

Phoenix is in the top 10 in scoring offense (110.8 PPG) and defense (104.7 PPG). The Suns have the third-best point differential in the league (+6.0), and they have fared well on the road this season, going 9-3 outside of Arizona.

Portland is 2-8 in its last 10 and enters Tuesday on a five-game losing streak that's worse than it sounds. The Blazers are losing by an average of 17.2 points during that stretch. Franchise turmoil and trade rumors aside, the team is simply not playing good basketball. Perhaps it's not fair to remove the angst surrounding the team from the equation, but the record speaks for itself.

Damian Lillard will always keep a team competitive on offense, but the team is missing C.J. McCollum. Portland's 25th-ranked scoring defense (111.2) keeps the team from the success it's been known for in recent years.

Portland began the season dominant on its home court. That's changed in the last few weeks. The Trail Blazers lost by 31 at home to the Spurs and then dropped their next two games at the Moda Center. These two teams split the season series 1-1 so far, but the Suns are in a much better place, even without Booker. Phoenix isn't particularly good ATS (13-13), but Portland has the worst ATS record (10-17).

Spread pick: Suns -1.5

Even in their recent, huge home losses, Portland scored better than 110 points in two of those three games. The Suns have seen lower-scoring outputs in the last few weeks but playing a shorthanded Trail Blazers team with a terrible defense is a great way to get right. Boston came into Portland on Dec. 4 and scored 145 points. The Blazers are not defending their home court well, and Phoenix will take advantage.

Over/Under pick: Over 219.5

Paul's season average (14.2 PPG) is more than two full points below this line. Plus, he's gone under it in six of his last seven games, including a nine-point outing in a loss to his former team, the Clippers. I think the Suns cover easily, which won't necessitate Paul putting up a lot of points or playing big minutes. Give me the under, and I wouldn't mind taking the over on his 9.5 assists, either.

Prop: Chris Paul Under 16.5 Points

Guest picker Robin Lundberg's picks

I loathe riding two teams on back-to-backs, but as a general rule of thumb, I pick with good teams and against bad ones (genius strategy). The Phoenix Suns have only lost two games in a row once this season, and that was in October. And I do believe the wheels have fallen off in Portland as the Blazers are on a five-game skid and have been blown out in most of them. Neither team is at full health in this one, but I will fall back on the body of work here and go with the Suns, despite Phoenix being just 1-4 against the spread with no days off this year.

Spread pick: Suns -1.5

The Blazers have scored well at home but are averaging only 99 points total in the last five games, and as previously mentioned, the Suns are coming in on a back-to-back. When you combine that with the absences of CJ McCollum, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, I see a lower-scoring game than may typically be expected between these two teams.

Over/Under pick: Under 219.5

Someone has to pick up the slack on offense with Ayton and Booker out. And given the Blazers' lack of defensive prowess overall, I think Bridges can get over that number on activity alone.

Prop: Mikal Bridges Over 12.5 Points

DFS Value Plays

(Prices based on 7:30 p.m. main slate)

  • PG/SG Jordan Poole, Warriors (FD: $6,300 | DK: $5,800)
  • SG/SF Alec Burks, Knicks (FD: $5,600 | $6,300)
  • SF Andrew Wiggins, Warriors (FD: $5,900 | $6,200)
  • PF/C Chris Boucher, Raptors (FD: $5,100 | $4,800)
  • C JaVale McGee, Suns (FD: $5,400 | $4,200)

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Week 15 IDP Waiver Wire
Five NCAA Coaches Exceeding Expectations
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