Knicks Look To End 7 Game Losing Streak: Knicks vs. Nuggets Preview

image from the NY daily news

The New York Knicks (4-17) will be at home, facing the Denver Nuggets (13-5) at 7:30pm Eastern Time in Madison Square Garden. The Nuggets who own the 3rd best record in the West, are coming off 2 straight losses. Denver is listed as 9 point favorites.

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

PositionNew York KnicksDenver Nuggets
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Jamal Murray (defense, shooting)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, defense/shooting)Gary Harris (defense, shooting inside the arc)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Will Barton (scoring/rebounding, turnovers)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Paul Millsap (scoring, turnovers)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, fouling)Nikola Jokic (offense/rebounding, 3 point shooting/rim protection)

Matchup Of The Night

Marcus Morris Sr. vs Will Barton

Marcus Morris Sr. currently leads the NBA, shooting 52.4% from three this season. Moving to the Small Forward position this season after previously being more of a Power Forward, Morris Sr. has surprisingly posted career highs in rebounds (6.2) and blocks (0.6), in his 9th year in the NBA. Morris Sr. has also posted career highs in personal fouls (3.3), turnovers (1.9), and defensive rating (111.1). Morris Sr. has certainly seen an uptick in scoring this season, posting a career high 18.7 points per game, but has had major issues guarding quicker forwards. Interestingly enough, Morris Sr. has held opponents to shoot just 42.9% from inside the arc and just 31.3% from three. It seems his issues with fouling and poor help defense from his supporting cast, can be blamed for his career-worst defensive rating. Tonight, Morris Sr. will be matched up against the streaky shooting, Will Barton. Barton is shooting 39.5% from three this season and averaging 14.8 points per game. Barton only goes to the line 2.4 times per game, doing the majority of his scoring from outside the paint. Although he isn’t known to be a lockdown defender, he owns a fantastic defensive rating of 96.4 and is grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game. The battle of the small forwards tonight will result in lots of scoring and top-tier 3 point shooting.

Inactives

Knicks- Reggie Bullock

Nuggets- Bol Bol

Key Statistics

  1. The Knicks are last in the NBA, shooting 42.2% from the field. The Nuggets are 23rd in the NBA, shooting 44.5%.
  2. New York is 11th in the NBA, shooting 36.3% from three. Denver is 24th in the NBA, shooting 34.5% from downtown.
  3. The Knicks are shooting 67.4%, last in the NBA. The Nuggets are shooting 74.5%, 23rd in the NBA.
  4. Denver is 7th best team in rebounding (46.9 per game). New York is 20th in the NBA, averaging 44.7 rebounds per game.
  5. The Nuggets average 25.9 assists per game, 6th in the NBA. The Knicks average 19.6 assists per game, last in the NBA.
  6. New York is 23rd in the NBA in defensive rating (112). Denver is 2nd in the NBA in defensive rating (102).
  7. Denver is 21st in the NBA in offensive rating (106.2). New York is last in the NBA in offensive rating (102.4).
  8. The Knicks play at a pace of 98.55, 28th in the NBA. The Nuggets play at a pace of 98.24, last in the NBA.

Keys To Winning

The Knicks will need to outplay the Nuggets from the perimeter and contain Nikola Jokic, to win tonight. Both teams play at a very slow pace and are not good shooting teams. However, the Nuggets are one of the top defensive teams in the league, meanwhile the Knicks are one of the worst. New York can gain a major advantage over Denver if they can get hot from three. Denver’s offense will revolve around star big man, Nikola Jokic. Jokic is extremely versatile and one of the best big men, passers in the league. He is prone to turning the ball over (2.8 per game) and fouling (3.3 per game). Jokic is also a poor three point shooter, only shooting 22.5% from downtown this season. The Knicks will sag off of him when he’s on the perimeter and likely double him when he’s in the paint. New York will also do their best to keep Jokic, Millsap, and Barton off the offensive glass and keep the Nuggets from getting 2nd chances on offense.

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