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Game Preview: Knicks at Hawks - 11/07/18

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House the Hawks!

The Knicks head to Georgia tonight. Seems like they play the Hawks (3-7) often. Hopefully when they get off the flight they don’t end up in Boston. In truth, it’s the second meeting. They squared off in the season opener and New York (3-8) took that handily following a jittery start. Seasons change and things have rearranged.

The Knicks have a very different rotation now. Enes Kanter is in a more suitable role as a steady bench scoring (and getting scored on) presence that can punish lightweight second units. Whereas the Hawks have remained relatively the same. Rookies Omari Spellman and Kevin Heurter have made deeper impacts but Atlanta is still awaiting the return of big man, John Collins and you’d have to think Taurean Prince is probable after missing last night’s game with a “light ankle sprain”.

Trae Young has been finding all kinds of oopers to alley to and pockets to drop dimes in. Yet Hawks turnover woes are a major concern. Worst in the league at 19.2 turnovers a game, they are just a bunch that is a little too willing to try something wild.

Taurean Prince is a crafty player, he can play at high speeds, but this type of play has become indicative of him as a player, searching for what works. Not especially good defense from Osman here, at least he shades him away from the middle. The tiniest bit of shade. You can still get too much sun out there though and Prince probably should have stopped with his hesitation move at the three-point line.

If he plays and is trying this against Damyean Dotson and crew, the Knicks should be able to coax this type of stuff out of Prince while sending him to the mid-point for a tough play.

Another over-zealous pass here, it’s no wonder the Hawks lead the league in turnovers. Knicks will need to pounce on these and steam the other direction for transition opportunities.

That is a play type Atlanta is definitely seeking out though. Knicks will have to stay ready.


Projected Starters

John Collins is still a few games away and Taurean Prince missed last night with a light ankle sprain. He did not travel with the team to Charlotte. Perhaps as a measure to protect against the wear of a back to back. Vince Carter didn’t start last night against the Hornets but he did play.

Tim Hardaway Jr. will probably want to rip into his old team but I can’t imagine he’s fully ready yet. Knicks definitely need Tim back.

Key Matchup

Trae Young vs Frank Ntilikina. I’m still waiting for Ntilhouse to exact revenge for this Summer League foul call.

Extremely David Fizdale voice, “Explain it to me!”

Unless Ntilikina is relegated to the bench because of his shooting struggles and Mudiay is promoted for his perceived good game against the lowly Bulls— we’ll get some answers to the hottest Las Vegas questions. Frank is exactly the type of guy Trae Young doesn’t want to see squaring up and digging in. Extremely long and much stronger, Frank will hunt Young down as soon as he crosses half court and stay in his jersey.

You think Ntilikina is going under that little drag screen? No, my friend.

You think Ntilikina is unaware of ball and man? My friend, no. Alex Len won’t even be able to make this hand off. Even if he did— that pocket is sewed shut, pal.

Now this looks like a great spot for ₣ to pummel and bludgeon Trae. Get him underneath the cup and hurt him! When he sinks too low from all the punishment, sprint outside and spank him again!

Get that money, ₣.

Feats of Strength

An interesting test I can’t wait to get my eyes on...

Vince Carter’s old man strength versus Noah Vonleh’s strong man gusto. I can’t wait to see The Snowplow hustle and muscle with that old grizzly bear.

Prediction

The Knicks continue to struggle without Tim Hardaway Jr. getting them buckets. Thankfully ₣ and Kevin Knox both have minor break out games. Allonzo Trier spins Kent Bazemore in a circle a few times. Enes Kanter gets 26 points on 19 shots with 8 offensive rebounds mostly off his own misses (limits teammate’s assist numbers btw). Emmanuel Mudiay turns the ball over a record setting 15 times, falls down a totally normal 90 times.

Knicks by -9.

Warm up music

Atlanta gets very busy but I want to give the good doctor a little spotlight.

Sta(ce)y strong!