New York Knicks (6-5, 3-3 road) vs. OKC Thunder (10-2, 5-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.4 (2nd), Knicks– 100.5 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.9 (24th), Knicks – 100.0 (8th)
Pace: Thunder – 91.4 (17th), Knicks – 93.7 (5th)
View from the enemy: Knickerblogger
So, the Thunder are catching some breaks. Not that they need them, but for the sixth consecutive games, the Thunder will be playing a team missing their best player. (Though I suppose it could be debatable whether or not Carmelo Anthony is New York’s best player.) Doesn’t take anything away in my mind — just the breaks of a season.
Also, the last time the Knicks came to Oklahoma City? This.
New York coming in: The Knicks last played Thursday losing in Memphis. Also, they stayed in the Skirvin last night.
Three Big Things
1. Attacking the paint. The Knicks aren’t a good defensive team but what they try and do well is defend the rim. That’s what Tyson Chandler is for. Russell Westbrook sometimes had issues navigating his way around Chandler in the postseason last May and that will likely be another focus in this game.
2. Let the Knicks be themselves. What do I mean? The Knicks can self-destruct if you let them. Iman Shumpert is a nice young rookie and Toney Douglas is a quality guard but those two aren’t equipped to run point and if you give them the chance will turn the ball over just by chucking dumb transition jumpers. If they get hot, that’s a problem, but don’t try and force the Knicks into any kind of specific slow-it-down, walk-it-up game. Let them do their thing and you do yours.
3. Start early. A hot start could bury the Knicks early. They’re without Melo, which in their heads, means they don’t have much of a shot. They just got pummeled by the Grizzlies and they aren’t playing very confidently. That’s not a bad team, but they aren’t the type of group that should walk into The Peake and take it to the Thunder with OKC rested.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Streak.