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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Kings, 11/3/2019

A Manhattan matinee.

The Kings (1-5) come into the Garden hot off the heels of winning their first game of the year against the highly regarded Utah Jazz. The Knicks (1-5) are hot off a spiritual win against the Celtics. It goes in the loss column, but Boston’s highly compensated 30-year old All Star guard, Kemba Walker, is officially petrified of Frank Ntilikina. Let’s take the wins where we can get them, right?

Projected Starters

Sacramento will be without Marvin Bagley III who fractured his thumb. Harry Giles III, who’s option was recently declined, will be questionable with a knee problem. That just means there will be more shooting on the floor to keep the Knicks off balance.

New York will remain light on guard depth, with Elfrid Payton still sidelined with a hamstring strain. I’m sure the Kings won’t notice though. Meanwhile Dennis Smith Jr. and Reggie Bullock will be out for personal reasons.

Key Matchups & Prediction

While much of the focus will certainly be on De’Aaron Fox and what Frank Ntilikina can do to contain him, or conversely what the Kings do to get Ntilikina off of Fox. And even though Frank tends to struggle with lightning quick guard, more than the one’s who use trickery (and Fox does both exceptionally well). Despite these issues, this is not the biggest concern. Oh, but wait, can you not see this drop coverage miscue coming from a mile away?

Nevertheless, for me, the real thing to be worried about is Buddy Hield zipping around the floor and getting open. RJ Barrett has done a surprisingly good job this year on the defensive side. Especially when you consider that one of his worst traits for Duke was to ball watch and get back doored- even by mechanical offenses- when he was lulled into a false sense of security. Hield should keep RJ on his toes, but he is as good as it gets at sneaking away to can a 150 proof jumpers in your pickled gut.

Composure hasn’t been RJ’s problem so far this year, but this is the type of matchup that will test his mettle. Buddy doesn’t need much room at all.

You also have to be deeply concerned about the Kings, with all their tweener style power forwards stepping out and dotting the three point arc for open looks. Nemanja Bjelica is totally the guy that hit 6-9 triples against the Knicks. I can imagine Harrison Barnes getting the first play of the game run for him and then disappears until the fourth quarter where he hits the wing three that gives the Kings their first lead since it was two nothing. Knicks will fight back but one too many possessions of Marcus Morris iso porridge will be the death of this game.

Knicks by -4.

Warm Up Music

Early games tend to start off a little wobbly. So let’s understand that and then hit it hard and leave ‘em scarred. With two teams that have already combined to lose ten games, this is a trip to the heart of darkness. Much like Sacramento, New York believes they can reach higher heights. Well now’s a good time to get that stove nice and hot. Let’s go!