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.

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