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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Jazz, 1/6/2021


Utah Jazz John Stockton (L) charges to the basket Photo credit should read MARK D. PHILLIPS/AFP via Getty Images

Last night the Jazz were ready and prepared to be stomped in the ground as they got absolutely rolled by the Nets. Losing by 32 probably sticks with you for a bit and judging by how things seem to be going this year, if Utah stayed late to get up shots, the Knicks might be in trouble.

Donovan Mitchell has gotten off the a rough start and may be looking for a breakout game to help right his ship. If the season were to end today (and COVID could absolutely put a stop to all of this without notice) Dono would have the worst shooting splits of his career at 38-34-77. Granted he has been trending up and has faired much better on the road so far. As have most teams. Coming into tonight’s games home teams so far in this NBA season are 48-56! A sub .500 win percentage at home is simply unprecedented.

The Knicks have done their part, going 3-2 on the road and 1-1 at home, with one trouncing in either direction against the Bucks and the 76ers. This is the world we live in and these are the hands we’re given.

Projected Starters

Elfrid Payton v. Mike Conley

Reggie Bullock v. Donovan Mitchell

RJ Barrett v. Royce O’Neale

Julius Randle v. Bojan Bogdanovic

Mitchell Robinson v. Rudy Gobert

After their performances in Atlanta and Indiana it’s easy to see Immanuel Quickley and Austin Rivers breathing down the necks of their starting counterpart guards but I don’t think the bad has outweighed the good up to this point. So the Knicks will probably be rolling with the same bunch.

Further Knick news on the lineup front, first some rotation player stuff: Frank Ntilikina and Obi Toppin are listed as out, while Nerlens Noel is questionable. Alec Burks is listed as questionable as I write this but...

End of bench crumbs Dennis Smith Jr. and Omari Spellman are considered probable. If Noel is a late scratch again we may see some spot minutes from Spellman just to give Julius Randle a blow, but there is no reason to play Smith. He’s coming off of injury and Jared Harper is a better player anyway. Dennis should be considered the 7th or 8th guard in the depth chart behind Elfrid Payton, Quickley, Rivers, Burks, Ntilikina, Reggie Bullock, Harper and possibly Theo Pinson. Maybe 9th when you really think about it.

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks
Harp playin’ the Jazz. Basketball Alice Coltrane.
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

You think Bojan Bogdanovic is putting a stop to what Julius Randle is doing? Well you’re dead wrong. Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert maybe offer some of the resistance needed to curtail Randle’s All Star caliber play but even those two should struggle with his quickness. Do the Knicks, behind Julius, let their guard down now that they’re at home? Or do they continue to pick and check and grab at their opponents, wearing them down slowly, body blow after body blow, until finally the head is a giant red clown nose and they can punch right through it.

Knicks by -6

Utah Jazz Chris Morris(L) reacts as New York Knick
Chris Morris swings a folding chair and hits Patrick Ewing in the back with it.
Photo credit should read MARK PHILLIPS/AFP via Getty Images

Warm Up Music

Get well soon, Dre!