Knicks Seek Redemption Against NBA’s Top Team: Knicks (7-22) vs. Bucks (25-4) Preview

photo from Brad Penner- USA Today Images and WFAN radio

The New York Knicks (7-22) will be at home, facing the Milwaukee Bucks (25-4) at 7:30pm Eastern Time. The Bucks are listed as 13 point favorites, led by the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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

PositionNew York KnicksMlwaukee Bucks
PGElfrid Payton (facilitating, scoring)Donte DiVincenzo (3 point shooting, turnovers)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Khris Middleton (shooting/defense, fouling)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Giannis Antetokounmpo (scoring/ rebounding, turnovers)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Ersan Ilyasova (rebounding, interior defense)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Brook Lopez (interior defense, shooting)

Matchup Of The Night

Marcus Morris Sr. vs. Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton is Milwaukee’s second best player and best shooter. Middleton is shooting an impressive 40.4% from three, while averaging 18 points per game. Middleton is your prototypical 3 & D guy in the NBA. Standing at 6-7, Middleton is long and quick on defense, locking up opponents on the perimeter. Morris Sr., the Knicks top scorer (18.7 PPG) and three baller (47.2% 3P), will draw the tough matchup. Morris Sr. has been an elite shooter this season from downtown, but is shooting only 40.3% from inside the arc. He will need to score on all three levels tonight to help the Knicks keep pace with the #1 offense in the NBA.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock

Bucks- Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews, and Dragan Bender

Key Statistics

  1. Milwaukee leads the NBA in points per game (120.7). New York is last in the NBA (103.1).
  2. The Bucks shoot 48.4% from the floor, 2nd in the NBA. The Knicks shoot 42.9% from the field, 29th in the NBA.
  3. Milwaukee is 3rd in the NBA, making 14.2 threes per game. New York is 25th in the NBA, making 10.5 per game.
  4. The Bucks are shooting 72.6% from the free throw line, 29th in the NBA. The Knicks are shooting 68.3% from the line, last in the NBA.
  5. Milwaukee leads the league, averaging 50.9 rebounds per game. New York leads the league, averaging 12.2 offensive rebounds per game.
  6. The Knicks are 8th in the NBA, averaging 14.2 turnovers per game. The Bucks are 12th in the NBA, averaging 14.6 turnovers per game.
  7. The Bucks are 8th in the NBA, averaging 5.8 blocks per game. The Knicks are 22nd in the NBA, averaging 4.6 blocks per game.
  8. Milwaukee own a NET Rating of 12.2, leading the NBA. The Knicks own a NET Rating of -8.9, 27th in the NBA.
  9. The Bucks lead the NBA in Pace (105.23). The Knicks are 26th in the NBA in Pace (98.66).
  10. Milwaukee scores 19.2 fast break points per game, 2nd in the NBA. New York scores 10.5 per game, 28th in the NBA.

Keys To Winning

The keys for the Knicks tonight are covering the three-point line, keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo out of the paint, and not turning the ball over. The last time these two teams played, Milwaukee scored 132 points, shooting 16-35 (45.7%) from downtown. The Knicks must contest the three ball better in this game to give themselves a chance. Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in the league and a force to be reckoned with. Although he is an improved shooter, the Knicks must force him to hit shots and load the paint when he drives, as he is unstoppable around the basket. Finally, ball security is a focal point in this game for the Knicks. The Bucks love to run and can run the score up in a hurry if they generate turnovers and get open looks in transition. New York must slow the pace, not turn the ball over, and take good shots on offense.

Have The Knicks Reached Their Ceiling? Knicks 114 Heat 129 Review

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Recap

Miami opened up the game clicking on all cylinders. They outscored the Knicks 39-20 in the 1st Quarter with 8 different players scoring. The Heat’s ball movement and shooting was masterful, shooting a slash of 65.2% FG, 50% 3P, 100% FT and racking up 15 assists! New York’s offense was decimated by the same statistics. The Knicks shot 41.7% from the floor, without making a three-pointer or a free throw in the quarter. The Knicks also only recorded 3 assists and coughed up 4 turnovers. The Knicks scored 27+ points in the final three quarters and outscored Miami by 4 points in that time, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their brutal start.

Miami finished with 7 players scoring in double digits and Jimmy Butler wasn’t one of them (finished with 9 points). Bobby Portis (30 points- season-high and 8 rebounds) and Mitchell Robinson (18 points on 8-9 shooting) both had fantastic games for the Knicks off the bench. RJ Barrett coming off a 27 point night, scored just 2 points on a rough 1-10 shooting. Julius Randle finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds, but struggled shooting (3-11 from the field). Marcus Morris Sr. had a subpar game, finishing with 15 points.

Why The Knicks Lost

The Knicks lost because of their lack of defense from three, poor shooting, and an abysmal start to the game. The Heat shot an impressive 47.4% from three, mainly due to Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic shooting a combined 10-19 (52.6%) from downtown. The Knicks shot 12.2% worse than the Heat from the floor and 18% worse from three. They gave themselves a chance to overcome their poor shooting by winning the turnover battle 8-18, but their start to this game was too big of a hole to dig themselves out of. Overcoming a 39-20 start on the road against one of the top teams in the league is nearly impossible. Couple that with the Knicks lack of shooting and they never had a chance to mount a comeback in this one.

Outlook

Shooting has plagued the Knicks all season, but reinforcements may be on the way. Reggie Bullock, who is a nice 3 & D weapon the Knicks signed this offseason, has started practicing this past week and is growing closer to being available to play. Also, Knicks are likely to make a trade at some point, which would likely pull in draft picks and/or a young, shooter. Regardless of Bullock joining the active roster soon, the Knicks have a limited ceiling due to their current roster’s lack of three-point shooting. When Bullock joins the rotation, the Knicks will still give large minutes to Ntilikina, Barrett, Randle, and Smith Jr. (who have struggled from three all season). New York currently has 5 players shooting over 35% from three this season (Kadeem Allen, Marcus Morris Sr., Allonzo Trier, Bobby Portis, and Elfrid Payton). Their main shooters off the bench have shot terribly from three (Knox- 33%, Ellington- 30.4%, Dotson- 29.8%). Bullock, a career 39.2% three-point shooter, will provide a very nice lift for the Knicks. However, the Knicks need to improve significantly across the board to have a legitimate chance at becoming a playoff team.

New York Faces Tough Challenge After Massacre Against Atlanta: Knicks vs. Heat Preview

Photo via Sarah Stier- Getty Images and posting and toasting

The New York Knicks (7-21) will be on the road, facing the Miami Heat (20-8) at 8:00pm Eastern Time. The Heat are listed as 9 point favorites, despite Justice Winslow being out with an injury.

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

PositionNew York KnicksMiami Heat
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense, scoring)Kendrick Nunn (shooting, turnovers)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, shooting)Jimmy Butler (scoring/defense, 3 point shooting)
SFMarcus Morris Sr. (3 point shooting, fouling)Duncan Robinson (3 point shooting, fouling/defense)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Meyers Leonard (rebounding, scoring)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, shooting)Bam Adebayo (rebounding/defense, turnovers)

Matchup Of The Night

Mitchell Robinson vs. Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo has turned himself into one of the best Centers in the league this season. Adebayo is averaging 34.1 minutes per game and posting All-Star caliber numbers (15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game). Adebayo is very quick on his feet and thrives offensively in the paint. He often runs the pick and roll or rolls off dribble hand-offs on offense. He catches lobs and often times finds the ball around the free throw line, where he can drive to the rim (where he has fantastic touch) or kick the ball to the outside (Miami has lots of shooting). Adebayo’s mishaps are few and far between, but he shoots 66.3% from the foul line, turns the ball over 2.9 times per game, and averages 2.8 fouls per game. Mitchell Robinson, although not drawing the start, will play the majority of minutes for the Knicks at Center. Robinson is one of the few Centers in the NBA that can match Adebayo’s athleticism. Robinson averages 10.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in just 22.5 minutes of action this season. Robinson has had issues with fouling (3.4 per game), relegating him to the bench. However, Robinson has logged 25+ minutes in all of the Knicks last 7 contests. He is currently coming off a career-high 22 points. Robinson has been one of the Knicks top players all season and New York will lean heavily on him keep Adebayo in check and lockdown the paint, while the Knicks focus on covering the three-point line.

Inactives

Knicks- Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock

Heat- Justice Winslow

Key Statistics

  1. Miami averages 112.1 points per game, 11th in the NBA. New York averages 102.7 points per game, last in the NBA.
  2. Miami is 4th in the NBA with a field goal percentage of 47.2%. New York is last in the NBA, shooting 42.9% from the floor.
  3. The Heat are 2nd in the NBA, shooting 38.2% from three. The Knicks are 22nd in the NBA, shooting 34.8% from downtown.
  4. The Heat take 26.4 free throws per game, 4th in the NBA. The Knicks take 24.6 free throws per game, 8th in the NBA.
  5. The Knicks lead the league, averaging 12.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Heat are 28th in the NBA, averaging 8.9 offensive rebounds per game.
  6. New York is 10th in the NBA, averaging 14.5 turnovers per game. Miami is 29th in the NBA, averaging 16.9 turnovers per game.
  7. Miami averages 8.3 steals per game, 7th in the NBA. New York averages 7.8 steals per game, 17th in the NBA.
  8. The Heat are 21st in the NBA in Pace (99.82). The Knicks are 26th (98.6).
  9. The Knicks are 2nd in the NBA in Second Chance Points (15). The Heat are 21st (12.3).
  10. Miami averages 10.5 screen assists per game, 7th in the NBA. New York averages 8.1, 23rd in the NBA.

Keys To Winning

The Knicks will look to cover the three-point line, force Miami to turn the ball over, and shoot the ball from three tonight. Miami is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the NBA. New York will need to give special attention to Kenrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro from downtown. The Heat turn the ball over frequently, thus the Knicks will look to double-team and put pressure on them (hopefully leading to some easy baskets in transition). The Heat utilize a trio of big men (Adebayo, Leonard, and Olynyk). They also use a 2-3 zone a lot. Both result in a lack of perimeter defense, opening up good looks for teams from three. The Knicks will look to Marcus Morris Sr. (shooting 47.7% from three) to space the floor and knockdown jumpers. Kendrick Nunn and Jimmy Butler will be very tough covers for New York. Miami’s starting lineup matches up really well against New York, as the Knicks main scoring options Morris Sr. and Julius Randle will likely be covered by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. RJ Barrett should have a good matchup, likely squaring off against Duncan Robinson. Look for Mitchell Robinson and Elfrid Payton to be major contributors for the Knicks off the bench tonight. Kevin Knox and Damyean Dotson may also provide a spark for the Knicks off the pine, adding strong three-point shooting.

Breakthrough Emerges As Knicks Play Their Best Game Of The Season: Knicks 143 Hawks 120 Review

Photo by Emilee Chinn- Getty Images and from CBS NY

Recap

The Knicks came out hot, scoring 41 points in the 1st, the most they’ve scored in a quarter all season. Marcus Morris Sr. led the charge, scoring 13 points in the 1st Quarter, while the Knicks shot 58.3% from the floor and 62.5% from three as a team. New York never looked back, scoring over 30 points in all four quarters and scoring the most points they have in a game since 1980 (143).

Trae Young was able to have a tremendous night, despite his team’s struggles. Young finished with a game-high 42 points and added 8 assists, while shooting 55.2% from the field. One of Atlanta’s 1st round draft picks in the 2019 draft, De’Andre Hunter, also had a nice game (19 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists). For New York, six Knicks reached double figures in scoring. RJ Barrett had a breakout performance, scoring 27 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, on an efficient 10-13 (77%) shooting. The Knicks top guns, Marcus Morris Sr. (22 points in 22 minutes) and Julius Randle (17 points and 11 rebounds), had great games as well. Mitchell Robinson had a monster game off the bench, posting 22 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and a team high plu-minus of +25. Kevin Knox (17 points and 3 steals) and Dennis Smith Jr. (8 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists) both had good games, which will hopefully help them build their confidence and start playing up to their potential.

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Why The Knicks Won

The Knicks won this game because of tremendous shooting, dominating the paint, moving the ball, and getting to the foul line. In short, the Knicks offense was fantastic. New York shot a slash of 55.8% FG, 46.4% 3P, and 77.4% FT. Those are well above their season averages (42.9%, 34.8%, 68.4%). The Knicks outscored Atlanta in the paint by a whopping 20 points (72-52). This was mainly thanks to Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle (combining for 44 PITP). The Knicks only recorded 246 passes (well below the usual goal of 300 set by Fizdale), but tallied 30 assists and moved the ball well. This was due to the Knicks playing at a much faster pace than usual (106.5) and quick decision making. They didn’t waste any time or passes in this one, finding open players early in the shot clock all night. All season, free throw shooting has been an issue for the Knicks (68.4%- last in the NBA), but they recorded 31 free throw attempts in this game, knocking down 24 of them (77.4%). Getting to the line over 30 times and shooting them at a high percentage, set the Knicks up for a major night offensively.

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Outlook

The Knicks have been playing better and better every game since Mike Miller has taken over. The Knicks are 3-3 under him and are playing much better offensively. New York have become much more aggressive and really attacking downhill, towards the rim, on offense. This is leading to more layups/dunks, free throw attempts, and open shots on the perimeter. The Knicks improved play will be tested in their next two games, facing the Miami Heat (20-8) and the Milwaukee Bucks (25-4).

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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.