Porzingis Enters MSG As A Foe For The First Time: Knicks Mavericks Preview

image from elite sports

The New York Knicks (2-9) will be taking on the Dallas Mavericks (6-4) at 8:00pm Eastern Time at home in Madison Square Garden. Dallas is 7.5 point favorites in Kristaps Porzingis’ homecoming to the mecca, which will be nationally televised on TNT.

Starting Lineups- With 2 Attributes That Will Be Impactful Tonight (Strength, Weakness)

PositionNew York KnicksDallas Mavericks
PGFrank Ntilikina (generating turnovers, scoring) Luka Doncic (driving, turnovers)
SG RJ Barrett (driving, perimeter defense) Seth Curry (three point shooting, size)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, turnovers) Dorian Finney-Smith (rebounding, shooting)
PFJulius Randle (facilitating, defense/turnovers) Kristaps Porzingis (scoring, interior defense)
CMitchell Robinson (shot blocking, fouling) Maxi Kleber (shooting, interior defense)

Matchup Of The Night

Julius Randle vs. Kristaps Porzingis

This will be a matchup of offense between two highly talented offensive weapons that have had issues shooting the ball at a high percentage this season. Both are matchup nightmares with Porzingis standing at 7 foot 3 and being able to stretch the floor very well. Randle is powerful and quick on his feet, making it hard for bigger players to stay in front of him when he drives. Randle is currently shooting career lows from the floor (42.4%), from three (21.1%), and the foul line (63.2%). Randle is also averaging the most turnovers he has in his entire career (3.9 per game). The Knicks main acquisition this offseason will be looking to make his teammates better tonight as Fizdale was quoted talking about Randle in practice yesterday, “Today he spent the whole day- he said, ‘I’m not doing anything one-on-one today, every single play is going to be me getting somebody else involved.’ He did it. Literally went through the whole practice that way.” Randle and the other Knicks big men will draw the daunting task in guarding Porzingis during his “revenge game” tonight. Porzingis scored 28 points and contributed 9 rebounds and 5 blocks in their last matchup. I would imagine Porzingis is looking to have a great game against his old team and fans. Porzingis is shooting a career low from the floor (40.1%) and from the foul line (68.4%). However, KP is shooting an impressive 37.5% from three and is averaging career highs in rebounds (7.9) and blocks (2.4). Porzingis has a terrible defensive rating of 109.4 and fouled out in his last game against New York. It will be crucial to slow Porzingis down on offense, the Knicks must attack him on the other end. 


Knicks- Elfrid Payton (Mitchell Robinson is Questionable. If he’s out, expect Taj Gibson to start).

Mavericks- No current injuries

Key Statistics

  1. The Knicks won their last matchup shooting 50% from three and out rebounding Dallas 67-54.
  2. Dallas is 9th in the NBA in points per game (115.3) and 2nd in the NBA in offensive rating (112.9). Meanwhile the Knicks are 29th in points per game (99.5) and 30th in offensive rating (99.3).
  3. The Mavericks are 5th in the NBA in three pointers made per game (13.9). The Knicks give up 12.4 threes per game.
  4. Dallas is 4th in the NBA in personal fouls drawn per game. The Knicks are 26th in the league commiting a whopping 23.9 fouls per game.
  5. The Mavericks only commit 14.2 turnovers per game (6th in the NBA). The Knicks are 6th in the NBA in steals with 6.6 per game.
  6. The Mavericks are 5th in the NBA in rebounds per game (47.8). The Knicks are first in offensive rebounding (12.6 per game).
  7. The Mavericks allowed the 3rd highest field goal percentage in the NBA on shots from 10-14 feet.

Keys To Winning

The Knicks first and foremost will need to do their best covering Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas lacks fire power and relies heavily on these two to do the bulk of the scoring. The Knicks defense must force Doncic and the other Mavericks to commit turnovers and make sure to not foul often. On offense the Knicks should look to drive at Porzingis and take the mid range jumpers. Winning the rebound battle and making their three pointers will be crucial in winning this game as well. Look for Ntilikina and Randle to facilitate and try and get the Knicks some open shot early on.

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