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Game Preview Hawks at Knicks- 12/21/18

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When tanks collide.

Here we have a meeting of two bottom five teams in the NBA. Rock and roll, babes! The struggle is quite real here. The Knicks (9-24) have snatched two of their not quite ten wins from these Hawks (7-23). New York will certainly try to jam on the brakes of their three-game losing streak and Atlanta is probably looking to extend their one-game win streak having just whomped the Wizards behind Jeremy Lin’s lat exploits.

Both squads score about 108 points per game, but the Hawks do it with a distinct advantage in the assist department. Atlanta fizzes it around for 25.2 helpers a night good for 7th in the league. New York is the pits however, last in the NBA in assists per game, at a paltry 19.8, they are the only team under the 20-per mark. Not to put too much salt on the game, but here’s where the Knicks ratio the Hawks- the home team is only turning it over 14.4 times a game, to Atlanta’s league-worst 18.7. Put the points on the board every time you turn them over and the assist difference can be wiped away.

These are the struggles of inexperienced NBA teams learning how to play together. Both Atlanta and New York have 11 guys age 25 or younger. The Hawks of course have the oldest man in the gym with 41-year old Vince Carter who has been contributing all year. The Knicks oldest player is 33-year old Courtney Lee, who still appears to have sea legs in his limited minutes since returning from a neck injury.


Projected Starters

Atlanta will be without the troublesome Taurean Prince tonight but will have John Collins for the first time against the Knicks this year. Will be interesting to see Noah Vonleh matchup with the springy forward.

Key Matchup

Emmanuel Mudiay will have to get after Trae Young and run him off the four-point line. Yet, the matchup I’ll be raring to see the most of is the old Kev Bowl, Kevin Knox versus Kevin Huerter. A pair of rookies still wet behind the ears, ankle deep in the league. Knox has been much more potent since being condemned by some mouthy scout. He is the first Knick rookie since Patrick Ewing to score 15 points in six consecutive games and is starting to capitalize on learning his place within the team’s flow. Can Knox keep that rolling and clamp up a fellow rookie-Kevin? Huerter is a shooter, it would be nice to just see Knox make smarter close outs going over the top or getting up to Huerter’s chest without running into him. We’re still in a very blissful simple-things-making-big-differences territory with Knox, who is a teenager. On the flip, Huerter has been pretty spotty on defense and may have a tough time with the lanky Knox in one-on-one situations.

Kanter Corner

Rap game long stem rose. Crack game daffodil brooch.

Prediction

The Knicks will continue to hold court against the Hawks tonight, beating them for a third straight time this season! Look, there’s just too much size in the backcourt for Trae Young to contend with for the whole game. He’ll still show out for a career high 42 points. The rest of the Hawks will have had a long night out in New York, except for Dewayne Dedmon. Thankfully Dedmon will be coming to the game straight from his 9-5 gig. Normally he works remotely, but today he’ll strap on his suspenders and go into the office! More Sanka.

Knicks by 18!

Warm Up Music

In New York City, don’t you cross the line... and take a long two.

Rest easy, Fred.