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Game Preview: Knicks vs Hornets: 12/9/18

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Right back at it.

Where’s Frank, David? New York (8-19) barely has time to check the tape to see what happened last night. So there’s plenty of hand wringing to do over whether or not Frank Ntilikina impacts the game. Perhaps Allonzo Trier needs the ball even more (he needs it less). Maybe Mario Hezonja should run point, he’s more decisive than Trier, right? Aw who am I kidding? Let’s just leave everything in place until we can get Trey Burke back out there.

Yea Burke can keep the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s of the league from backing him down on the block. He’s not too little.

Oh. The high scoring Charlotte Hornets (12-13) are in town. Kemba Walker and co. are coming off a nice win over the Denver Nuggets. They have had largely an up and down season so far; losing a lot of close ones. The tireless Kemba has climbed to yet another plateau this season, including a stellar 60-point freakout against the stout defensive stylings of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Knicks basically cycled through two different rotations last night and should hopefully not feel the ill effects of tired legs because the Hornets speed around and hoist a lot of shots. In particular pulling from nearly 34 shots from downtown per game. Get your track shoes.


Projected Starters

There is no reason to play Hezonja at this point. His decision making is just too confused, too late. David Fizdale even spazzed out on the kid, screaming, “WAKE UP!” at a sleepwalking Hezonja last night when he did a bunch of rhythm dribbling as the shot clock expired.

Key Matchup

If there is a lineup and rotation change, Damyean Dotson and Frank Ntilikina should command every single second of Hezonja’s minutes and they should eat into Allonzo Trier’s role, if not time, on the floor.

If there’s a problem and no one else can help, and if Fizdale can (however and why ever reluctantly) find minutes for him, maybe you should bump Frank up to the A-team and let him guard Kemba Walker. Emmanuel Mudiay has been fine and he can switch up when needed. However, it’s Frank that will take things away from Kemba without giving the Marvin Williams’ of the world an easy opportunity.

Prediction

For whatever reason Fizdale has shackled Frank. If he frees him of these chains AND gives him opportunities to orchestrate with the ball in his hands, before long the ball will find the energy it needs. Frank has a way of making sure everyone stays involved and gets a touch, and if everyone stays engaged, the Knicks have a chance. Sadly, tonight I fear Fizdale does not relent as he handcuffs frank to the bench yet again! Kemba drops 46.

Knicks by -78.

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