Knicks Aim To Slow Down Trae Young, Seeking For 3rd Win In 4 Games: Knicks vs. Hawks Preview

image via clutch points

The New York Knicks (6-21) will be back home tonight, facing the Atlanta Hawks (6-21) at 7:30pm Eastern Time. The Knicks are listed as 2 point favorites, hoping to continue their improved play as of late.

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

PositionNew York KnicksAtlanta Hawks
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Trae Young (scoring/assisting, turnovers/size)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Kevin Huerter (3 point shooting, driving)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)De’Andre Hunter (3 point shooting/defense, assisting)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Jabari Parker (interior scoring, defense)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Damian Jones (interior scoring, fouling)

Matchup Of The Night

Frank Ntilikina vs. Trae Young

In his second season, Trae Young has become one of the top point guards in the game. Young is averaging 27.8 points (5th in the NBA) and 8.5 assists (4th in the NBA) per game. He is shooting an impressive 36.8% from three and is averaging 1.2 steals per game. His struggles are displayed in his 4.9 turnovers per game, defensive rating of 116.6, and his size (6-1, 180 pounds). Frank Ntilikina (6-4, 200 pounds), will have a significant size advantage in this matchup. Ntilikina has become a phenomenal defender in his 3rd season, averaging 1.4 steals per game. He has had issues with scoring his entire career, averaging a career-high 6.1 points per game this season. Ntilikina will look to utilize his size and defensive prowess to force Young to take bad shots and turn the ball over tonight. He will look to drive against Young and penetrate into the paint on offense.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington, Allonzo Trier, and Reggie Bullock

Hawks- Chandler Parsons

Key Statistics

  1. The Atlanta Hawks are 22nd in the NBA, shooting 44.9% from the floor. The Knicks are last in the NBA, shooting 42.4% from the floor.
  2. New York is 24th in the NBA, shooting 34.4% from three. Atlanta is last in the NBA, shooting 31.7% from three.
  3. The Hawks shoot 75% from the foul line, 21st in the NBA. The Knicks shoot 67.9% from the foul line, last in the NBA.
  4. The Knicks lead the NBA, grabbing 12.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Hawks are 28th in the NBA, grabbing 32.1 defensive rebounds per game.
  5. Atlanta averages 23.6 assists per game, 17th in the NBA. New York averages 20.1 assists per game, last in the NBA.
  6. New York is 10th in the NBA, only averaging 14.6 turnovers per game. Atlanta is last in the NBA, averaging 17.5 turnovers per game.
  7. The Knicks have 4.7 of their shots blocked per game, 12th in the NBA. The Hawks have 7 of their shots blocked per game, 29th in the NBA.
  8. Atlanta is 24th in the NBA and New York is 25th in the NBA, both averaging 22.8 fouls per game.
  9. The Hawks are 12th in the NBA, drawing 21.5 fouls per game. The Knicks are 23rd in the NBA, drawing 20.1 fouls per game.
  10. New York owns a defensive rating of 112.6, 25th in the NBA. Atlanta owns a defensive rating of 113.6, 25th in the NBA.
  11. The Hawks are 10th in the NBA in Pace, 102.43. The Knicks are 27th in Pace, 98.31. 

Keys To Winning

New York will need to contain Trae Young, generate turnovers, and own the paint. Trae Young is easily the Hawks best player and if the Knicks can contain him, that will cripple Atlanta’s offense. Atlanta averages the most turnovers in the NBA and if the Knicks continue to play with a high, defensive intensity, they should create lots of turnovers tonight. The Hawks have a porous, interior defense, allowing opponents to score 51.9 points in the paint per game (27th in the NBA). Julius Randle should take advantage of this and have a big night offensively.

Early Defense And Late Offense Prevent New York From Winning 3rd Straight: Knicks 105 Nuggets 111 Review

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Recap

This game was a tale of two halves. Denver outscored the Knicks, 67-51, in the 1st Half. The Nuggets had 7 players score 7 or more points in the 1st Half. New York only had 3. The Knicks issues came from their 9 turnovers, shooting 4-15 (26.7%) from three, and allowing Denver to shoot 56.9% from the floor. The 3rd Quarter was a completely different story. The Knicks outscored the Nuggets 33-20, cutting Denver’s lead to 3. Marcus Morris Sr. went on a rampage, scoring 16 points in the quarter! In the 3rd, New York only committed 1 turnover, shot 63.6% from the floor (50% from three), and held the Nuggets to shoot 29.2% from the field. The 4th Quarter was a defensive battle. Although the Knicks took a 5 point lead with 7:11 remaining, Denver prevailed to win by 6. The Nuggets outscored the Knicks 24-21 in the final quarter, playing unrelenting defense. The Knicks shot 29.6% from the floor and 1-11 (9.1%) from three, in the quarter. They only scored 5 points in the last 5:57 of the game. New York’s fantastic defense in the 2nd Half, just wasn’t enough to overcome their poor shooting and pull out a victory.

Denver was led by Nikola Jokic (25 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists), Will Barton (16 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists) and Mason Plumlee (14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists). The Knicks had a lot of bright spots in this game, especially from their two point guards. Frank Ntilikina racked up 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. He was crucial in the Knicks comeback, leading the team with a plus-minus of +10. Elfrid Payton continued to play great basketball in this one, tallying 10 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds, in just 25 minutes of action. Payton did shoot a poor 5-13 (38.5%), from the field though. Per usual, New York’s two leading scorers were veterans, Marcus Morris Sr. (22 points) and Julius Randle (20 points). Kevin Knox had a nice game, scoring 10 points and grabbing 4 rebounds. RJ Barrett was the biggest disappointment of the evening, scoring 7 points on 3-12 (25%) shooting, while only picking up 3 rebounds and an assist.

Why The Knicks Lost

The Knicks lost this game due to their lack of ball security and defense in the 1st Half, coupled with a poor shooting night from three (excluding the 3rd Quarter). They commited 9 of their 11 turnovers and surrendered 67 of the Nuggets 111 points in the 1st half. New York finished the night shooting 8-32 (25%) from three and if you exclude the 3rd Quarter, they shot 5-26 (19.2%) from three. New York’s scoring down the stretch is also a concern, as they have relied heavily on isolations (generating very few open looks and points) in the final few minutes of their last several games.

Outlook

The Knicks have been competing hard on both ends of the court lately and the results are showing it. They won two straight games and then put themselves in a position to beat a very good, Denver Nuggets team. Their strengths have been gritty defense and limiting their turnovers. However, the Knicks are still struggling to shoot three-pointers at a high percentage, shooting 17-62 (27.4%), in their past two games. The Knicks will have a strong chance at winning their next contest, facing the Atlanta Hawks (6-21).

Knicks Seek 3rd Straight W, Facing Jokic And The Nuggets: Knicks Nuggets Preview

Image via (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) and The Denver Post

The New York Knicks (6-20) will be on the road, facing the Denver Nuggets (16-8) at 8:00pm Eastern Time. The Nuggets are listed as 11 point favorites, led by Nikola Jokic.

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

PositionNew York KnicksDenver Nuggets
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Jamal Murray (defense/scoring, turnovers)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Gary Harris (defense/3 point shooting, rebounding)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Will Barton (shooting/rebounding, turnovers)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Jerami Grant (defense, rebounding)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Nikola Jokic (rebounding/assisting, turnovers/foot speed)

Matchup Of The Night

Julius Randle vs. Jerami Grant

Millsap, the Nuggets highest paid player ($30,350,000), is having a very disappointing season. He’s only averaging 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, his lowest totals of the decade. He is out tonight with an injury and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Jerami Grant. Grant is a solid veteran, who brings a lot of energy. He is a respectable shooter, shooting 45.5% from the floor and 38.6% from three, this season. Grant is not a great rebounder, only averaging 3.5 rebounds per game. Julius Randle, who has been fantastic since Mike Miller has taken over the Knicks’ head coaching duties, will look to attack Grant this evening. Randle leads the Knicks in rebounding (8.7 rebounds) and assisting (3.5 assists), while also averaging 17.3 points per game. Randle has struggled with turnovers this season, averaging 3.2 per game, but has only turned the ball over 10 times in his last 5 games. Randle must continue to be cognizant of double-teams and make quick reads on offense, to give the Knicks a chance at upsetting Denver.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington, Allonzo Trier, and Reggie Bullock

Nuggets- Paul Millsap

Key Statistics

  1. Denver is 19th in the NBA, shooting 45% this season. New York is last in the NBA, shooting 42.2% this season.
  2. The Knicks are 6th in the NBA, attempting 24.9 free throws per game. The Nuggets are 28th in the NBA, attempting 19.6 free throws per game.
  3. The Knicks average 12.1 offensive rebounds per game, leading the NBA. The Nuggets average 10.8 offensive rebounds per game, 8th in the NBA.
  4. The Nuggets are averaging 26.3 assists per game, 6th in the NBA. The Knicks are averaging 20.2 assists per game, last in the NBA.
  5. Denver is 11th in the NBA, averaging 20.2 personal fouls per game. New York is 26th in the NBA, averaging 23 personal fouls per game.
  6. The Nuggets own a defensive rating of 102.6, 2nd in the NBA. The Knicks own a defensive rating of 112.3, 24th in the NBA.
  7. Denver is 4th in the NBA in assist to turnover ratio (1.89). New York is 27th in the NBA (1.37).
  8. The Knicks are 27th in the NBA in Pace (98.53). The Nuggets are 29th in the NBA in Pace (97.75).
  9. The Nuggets average 47.2 points in the paint per game, 13th in the NBA. The Knicks 41.7 points in the paint per game, 29th in the NBA.
  10. New York is 4th in the NBA, scoring 15 second chance points per game. Denver is 19th in the NBA, scoring 12.6 second chance points per game.

Keys To Winning

The Knicks will need to protect the paint, contain Barton and Murray from three, and outrebound the Nuggets, to win this game. Both teams are not great shooting teams, but have lots of size and don’t turn the ball over much. This will be a game of halfcourt offense. New York must cover the corner three, which crippled the Knicks in their last contest with Denver (Nuggets made 7 threes from the right corner). Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and Bobby Portis will look to score in the paint and crash the offensive glass to help boost the Knicks offense. A hot night from Marcus Morris Sr. and Damyean Dotson could significantly help the Knicks space the floor. Most importantly, the Knicks must continue to compete with a high intensity on defense, which led them to their past two victories.

Are The Knicks Buyers After 2nd Straight Win? Yes, But Not Why You Think They Are! Knicks 103 Kings 101 Recap and Trade-Season Outlook

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Recap

New York jumped out to a brutal start, displaying the same errors that have plagued them all season. Buddy Hield erupted in the 1st Quarter, scoring 14 points on an efficient 6-7 shooting, and grabbed 7 rebounds. The Knicks careless three-point defense, often times being held up or sagging under screens, allowed Sacramento to shoot 5-7 (71.4%), from three in the 1st. Ball movement and shooting were struggles for the Knicks on offense, shooting 37.5% from the floor, not making a single three-pointer, and only recording 2 assists in the quarter. Julus Randle (9 points) and Mitchell Robinson (6 points), combined to score 15 of their 20 points as a team. Trailing by 12, New York stepped it up defensively and moved the ball more. The Knicks forced 4 turnovers, held the Kings to shoot 42.9% from the floor, and tallied 7 assists on offense. The Kings still managed to shoot 4-8 from three in the quarter. Both teams amazingly, had only recorded 4 free throw attempts respectively in the 1st Half! Down by 9 at the half, it was clear the Knicks needed to guard the three-point line better and get to the foul line more often in the 2nd Half, to win the game. The 2nd Half was filled with unrelenting defense and much better offense for the Knicks. New York forced 7 turnovers, surrendered only 4 free throw attempts, and held the Kings to shoot 8-24 (33.3%) from downtown. Most importantly, the Knicks smothered Buddy Hield, who shot 5-13 (38.5%) from the floor and 2-9 (22.2%) from three, in the 2nd Half. On offense, ball movement and shooting way key for the Knicks turnaround, racking in 15 assists, while shooting 52.2% from the field and 42.9% from three. Although the Knicks only attempted 6 free throws in the 2nd Half, their shooting and defense was enough to propel the team to a 2 point victory. Julius Randle was magnificent in this game, finishing with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, while shooting an efficient 10-17 (58.8%), from the floor.

Why The Knicks Won

New York pulled out this 2 point victory, due to hard-nosed defense, a fantastic assist/turnover ratio, and commanding the paint. Effort certainly couldn’t be questioned in this game for the Knicks who held Sacramento to only 101 points (21 in the 4th Quarter) and recorded 34 box-outs (15 more than the Kings). The Knicks posted a team assist/turnover ratio of 2.67… that is easily better than the league-leading, assist to turnover ratio, held by the Phoenix Suns (2.05), this season. Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, and Elfrid Payton dominated the paint, scoring inside all night. These three Knicks combined for 36 of the Knicks 56 points in the paint. New York held the Sacramento to only 32 points in the paint. Perhaps the Knicks are beginning to find their identity (tough defense, ball security, and interior scoring).

Outlook

Today is December 15th, marking the date that all players who signed this offseason, are eligible to be traded. New York is still clearly desperate for shooting (last in the NBA in FG%, 42.2%). The Knicks are at a really tough crossroad right now, and no it isn’t due to their 2 game win streak. Yes, the Knicks find themselves only 5.5 games back from the 8 seed and have won back to back games. However, New York defeated the Warriors (without Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) and the Kings (without De’Aaron Fox). Although both victories were nice, the big picture needs to be the focus moving forward. The Knicks lack talent and it appears they need to cash-in on their veteran players, who can help playoff teams. Marcus Morris Sr. clearly has the most value, but is also the heart and sole of this Knicks roster. Culture has been a major point, talked about a lot by Steve Mills and Scott Perry. It is hard to say you are building a culture, when you trade one of your best players and leader, for draft picks. The Knicks’ Front Office has a lot of tough decisions to make with their jobs possibly, most likely, being on the line. Should they sell low on struggling players such as Dennis Smith Jr. and Allonzo Trier? Should they trade veteran leadership, moving Morris Sr., Taj Gibson, and Wayne Ellington? Could they possibly try and make a big splash and consider moving Ntilikina or Knox? Everything will be in play for the Knicks at the right price. Mills knows this may be his last shot and I doubt he elects to trade assets without acquiring young talent back. Mills knows that if he elects to move players for draft picks, the Knicks play on the court will suffer and his job will likely come to an end. The Knicks clearly need to display improvement as the season progresses. I’d expect trades that involve some new faces, sooner rather than later. DO NOT BE SURPRISED IF THE KNICKS TRADE FOR TALENT! 

Knicks Look To Steal A Win From Fox-Less Kings: New York vs. Sacramento Preview

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Knicks vs. Kings Preview

The New York Knicks (5-20) will be on the road, facing the Sacramento Kings (11-13) at 10:00pm Eastern Time. The Kings are listed as 8.5 point favorites, despite being without their best player, De’Aaron Fox.

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

PositionNew York KnicksSacramento Kings
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Cory Joseph (facilitating, scoring)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Buddy Hield (scoring/3 point shooting, turnovers)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Harrison Barnes (defense/shooting, driving/facilitating)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Nemanja Bjelica (3 point shooting, fouling)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Richaun Holmes (interior defense/athleticism, fouling)

Matchup Of The Night

RJ Barrett vs. Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield (21.5 points per game) is your typical scoring, shooting guard. Hield can score on all three levels, but does the majority of his damage from downtown. Hield is shooting 37.2% from three this season, while taking a massive 10.5 attempts from three, per game. Hield has had issues with turnover this season, averaging 2.5 per game, and is also a subpar defender. RJ Barrett who is an extremely different kind of shooting guard, will look to take advantage of Hield’s struggles. Barrett is averaging 14.3 points and 1.3 steals per game, this season. Barrett is a very good facilitator, as he is averaging 3.1 assists per game and does a great job driving into the paint. Barrett’s struggles have been shooting (39.3% FG, 32.1% 3P, 54.6% FT) and contesting the three-point line. Barrett may have a chance to boost his shooting numbers against the shaky-defending Hield, but will need to focus his energy towards guarding Hield and moving him off the three-point line. Hield will be Sacramento’s go-to guy tonight, with Fox missing the game. Hield can erupt at any moment and it will be crucial for Barrett and the Knicks to keep him from getting hot. 

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington, Allonzo Trier, and Reggie Bullock

Kings- De’Aaron Fox

Key Statistics

  1. The Kings are 27th in the NBA in points per game (105.2). The Knicks are last in the NBA in points per game (101).
  2. Sacramento is 11th in the NBA, attempting 34.9 three-pointers per game. New York is 24th in the NBA, attempting 30.3 three-pointers per game.
  3. The Knicks are 5th in the NBA in free throw attempts per game (25.5). The Kings are last in the NBA in free throw attempts per game (18.8).
  4. New York is 1st in the NBA in offensive rebounding, averaging 12 per game. Sacramento is 28th in the NBA in defensive rebounding, averaging 31.8 per game.
  5. Sacramento is 16th in the NBA, committing 21.6 personal fouls per game. New York is last in the NBA, committing 23.2 personal fouls per game.
  6. The Knicks are 26th in the NBA in Pace (98.81). The Kings are 29th in the NBA in Pace (97.94).
  7. Sacramento scores 41.8 points in the paint per game, 29th in the NBA. New York scores 41.1 points in the paint per game, last in the NBA.
  8. The Kings only surrender 10.5 fast break points to opponents per game, leading the NBA. The Knicks give up 13.9 fast break points per game, 22nd in the NBA.
  9. The Knicks are 4th in the NBA, only allowing 42.6 points in the paint per game. The Kings are 9th in the NBA, allowing 46 points in the paint per game.
  10. New York is 4th in the NBA, with 45.3% of their made field goals being unassisted. Sacramento is 9th in the NBA, with 42.9% of their made field goals being unassisted.

Keys To Winning

The Knicks will look to cover the three-point line (especially Hield, Bogdanovic, Barnes, and Bjelica), get to the free throw line (attacking Bjelica, Holmes, and Bagley), and win the battle of the boards, to pull out their 2nd straight victory. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic are tremendous scorers that can take over a game. The Knicks will need to cover them at all costs and force the other Sacramento players to beat them. New York will rely heavily on Elfrid Payton to help the Knicks inconsistent bench, score and keep up with the Bogdanovic/Bagley led, King’s bench. Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and Mitchell Robinson should have an easy time scoring inside when Holmes (the Kings top shot blocker, 1.4 per game) goes to the bench. Tonight the Knicks offense will likely run through Morris Sr. and Barrett for the majority of the game.

The Knicks will look to cover the three-point line (especially Hield, Bogdanovic, Barnes, and Bjelica), get to the free throw line (attacking Bjelica, Holmes, and Bagley), and win the battle of the boards (especially grabbing offensive rebounds), to pull out their 2nd straight victory. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic are tremendous scorers that can take over a game. The Knicks will need to cover them at all costs and force the other Sacramento players to beat them. New York will rely heavily on Elfrid Payton to help the Knicks inconsistent bench, score and keep up with the Bogdanovic/Bagley led, Kings’ bench. Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, and Mitchell Robinson should have an easy time scoring inside, when Holmes (the Kings top shot blocker, 1.4 per game) goes to the bench. Tonight, the Knicks offense will likely run through Morris Sr. and Barrett for the majority of the game.