Okla. City Thunder (31-21, 15-11 road) at New York Knicks (19-34, 12-17 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.0 (20th), Knicks – 106.6 (17th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.5 (3rd), Knicks – 109.6 (23rd)
Pace: Thunder – 92.4 (16th), Knicks – 93.9 (7th)
View from the enemy: Knickerblogger
For the second straight game, OKC has to throw out the scouting report from the previous matchup and start over. It’s a whole new Knicks team. Gone are Nate Robinson and Jared Jeffries. In come Tracy McGrady (who will start), Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Sergio Rodriguez and Bill Walker. Mike D’Antoni said New York would go back to playing faster with this new lineup which is exciting and slightly terrifying.
This is a bit of a trap because any time you take a seven-game win streak on the road, the opposing team wants to break it. But like last time in Dallas, it’s a new roster that will be trying to gel, but this time there’s no Dirk. New York will likely rely on Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and David Lee for offense and not so much McGrady because how much can you expect from a guy that’s played just 14 minutes over the last four months?
New York coming in: The Knicks have lost five in a row and since the break are 0-2 with two losses to Chicago. At home they’re 12-17 and are 2-8 in their last 10.
I’d love to see Kevin Durant explode tonight in Madison Square Garden so maybe he can get some of the overhyped attention that Kobe and LeBron get for having big games there. I don’t know why everyone acts like have a big night in MSG is the biggest thing ever, but it’d be nice if Durant did it so maybe he can raise his star a little more. And he’ll have a chance to. Wilson Chandler will likely guard him and while Chandler isn’t a bad defender, he didn’t fare well against KD last time. Jared Jeffries was New York’s best weapon to put on KD and he’s gone.
Chris Duhon shouldn’t be a huge problem for Russell Westbrook and while Tracy McGrady is obviously a great scorer, I’m interested to see how much he plays and how rusty he is. And plus, it’ll be a little tough for McGrady to find a rhythm against Thabo.
Of course, keeping David Lee off the glass is the biggest factor tonight. Jeff Green has done a lot better job being aggressive on the glass and Serge Ibaka’s rebounding has come a long way. Al Harrington, Jonathan Bender and Lee really aren’t a formidable inside combo. But New York can score in bunches and hit jumpers. They’re going to hoist a bevy of 3s and if they’re going in, they can beat anyone. This is certainly a game not to be taken lightly.
Hopefully OKC bottled up some ghosts from the Dirty Skirv and brought them on the road to New York. It had quite the affect on the Knicks the last time the two teams played, so I’d go with what worked.
Tip at 6:30 CST. Go Ghosts. .