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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Hornets, 11/16/2019

It would be funny if they can only beat the Mavs. I think.

Keep this same hootenanny.

Maybe the Knicks can only get up for games against the toxic Mavericks. If so, so be it. Probably helps when you have the perfect matchups for their top two guys. Frank Ntilikina is Luka Doncic’s worst nightmare, and really anyone can guard Kristaps Porzingis. Now let’s see if they can do the same thing against a feisty, springy team that was largely projected to be one of the worst in the league before the season.

Charlotte (5-7) heads to the Garden to face New York (3-9). Charlotte is sitting there in the seventh seed, which makes the Knicks two games out of seventh! Can you believe it? They keep on climbing. If this pace stands, the Knicks will be two games out of first in five games. Or maybe five weeks. I’m not really sure how to judge the pace they’re on. Are they setting their own pace? Or is the pace set and their pace is gathering pace against the pace, which actually means their pace is ahead of pace? You tell me.

Projected Starters

After a really fantastic performance against the Mavericks I’m expecting to see Mitchell Robinson back in the starting unit. He had terrific synergy with Dennis Smith Jr., who also popped in the previous game, so don’t be totally shocked if they continue to steer the ship for the bench unit. The thing is Frank Ntilikina and RJ Barrett are both probable and listed as day-to-day. This might be David Fizdale’s only chance to get Allonzo Trier right. Maybe we should be expecting DSJ to start next to Zo because Fizdale loves shot creation and layering players with similar skill sets. A rather unhealthy of dose of point-Trier is always on the back burner.

For the Hornets, Nicolas Batum is hoping to return to the lineup after breaking his finger late in the first game of the season. I’m sure he’ll be a welcome sight to Ntilikina, who has struggled to get positive recognition from coaches since he joined the Knicks. Hopefully that is slowly turning for the 21-year old.

Key Matchups & Predictions

If the Knicks learned anything from the critical beatdown they suffered to the Cavs a week ago it should be that RJ Barrett needs to shoulder a heavier offensive load against smaller guards and

Julius Randle really needs to stop babysitting that fucking ball, man, I’m not kidding. Sprint the hell up the floor, man. Crack some lil’ punk with a drag screen and help your guards help you. Nobody is freezing you out, palooka.

Sorry, what? Right, yea. Look. RJ Barrett is about to have 6-foot-2 Devonte Graham on him. Graham is a good defender, certainly several levels ahead of Collin Sexton, but a mismatch is a mismatch. Rip into it. If something don’t feel right, let Mook sort it out. Even if I don’t think Miles Bridges will be too concerned.

By the way, watch backdoor. Knicks by -7.

Warm Up Music

Let the truth wash over you, cleanse you, and the sun’s glare will dry your truth’s skin.

Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson might not take you to this promised land, but they are sturdy vessels that will guide you safely through the cay. You will stop and nourish yourself. Picking up new travelers as you embark on a longer, more arduous journey. You will meet fishermen like Marcus Morris. Eventually a traveler who is compelled to find Valhalla will join your troupe. We will call him RJ. Let this goodly company become your old salt.