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Game Preview: Knicks vs Magic- 2/26/19

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Tugging and plugging with 22 games left.

Look what we have here! The Knicks (12-48) are tugging along a little win to get the week rolling. Now it’s possible to have a duo of wins if they can hold serve at home against the Magic (28-33). Orlando as a team is about exactly what Nikola Vucevic is as a player. A fringe All Star in the East, a fringe playoff team in the East, they just might make it. Vucevic, not to be crude, has been excellent this year and deserves the credit. He’ll certainly make waves this off season as he tries to cash in on free agency. I believe they call these “contract years”. The pessimist in me sees the Knicks striking out on big names and offering him 4 years at $40m per. After which he will undoubtedly put up career lows until being stretched and waived, costing the Knicks $12m of dead space until 2027.

The Magic have been really sound defensively of late. Not that big of a surprise from a Steve Clifford team. That does not bode well for the Knicks who aren’t exactly a juggernaut, currently with the 27th ranked ORtg according to NBA.com.

New York has been a little more proficient especially behind the play of newly acquired Dennis Smith Jr. For a deeper look at what he’s doing and how it could play out going forward, don’t skip this gem from Knicks Film School (unless you hate Frank Ntilikina).


Projected Starters

In the Knicks previous game, the anticipation for Mitchell Robinson’s excellence garnering a start led us nowhere. Perhaps the reason (beyond DeAndre Jordan’s injured ankle) was Coach Fizdale’s comfort with Noah Vonleh and Lance Thomas. The real focus of that comfort may have been to engage his backcourt with Smith Jr. and Damyean Dotson starting to synergize.

Key Matchup

Dotson and co need to contain perpetual Knick killer, Terrence Ross. Of course the team will also have their work cut out for them with newly donned All Star, Nikola Vucevic, but if I’m them, I’d let Vuc eat and see if the rest of the team has any interest in the leftovers.

Ross recently took advantage of his old team, sans Kawhi Leonard:

As the Magic continue to push toward the playoffs, it’s nice (for them) to see Ross hitting stride. If he can get it rocking tonight, the league will definitely be on notice. However if the Knicks can stick to him and keep Ross from going off by matching his energy and bullying him a little bit, they might find a way to cruise in for the win.

The Magic recently lost to the lowly Bulls and certainly won’t take this game for granted. They are one game out in the loss column from tying Charlotte for the 8th seed. This isn’t make or break but they’ll regret this stretch if they lose to two of the worst teams in the NBA within a week of each other.

Prediction

How you doing? Everything good? You fixed for receipts at the gate? You need that playoff cash?

Well do your fucking job and beat the second-worst team in the NBA on their home court.

Knicks by -9.

Warm Up Music

According to the Silver Diggers at 538, the Knicks have a 75% chance of losing tonight. I’m not sure they realize that losing is winning just as much as winning is winning. The Knicks of course want to continue the feel good vibes of a raw data win, aka scoring more points than the opponent. It’s just not your f’n problem if they don’t. So, back. THE FUNK. Up.