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Game Preview: Knicks vs Warriors, 2/23/2021

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Superfans are back in the building.

Golden State Warriors v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Last time these teams met, there were no fans in the stands and Draymond Green got tossed. Today there will be fans because there’s no stopping the money train. I think we can all agree that change is not good though. So one thing at a time. You have your stupid fans, now please eject Draymond.

If the Knicks are able to snag this win, they’ll have swept the season series and started a new winning spree. Nothing would make me happier. I mean... everyone staying home as much as possible until they could get vaccinated would make me happier. But when life gives you lemons, squeeze it’s neck.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Projected Starters

The Warriors played without Steph Curry on Saturday in Charlotte because he had a tum tum tickle right before the game; word is it was not COVID related. COVID will probably be in the building though, even if Curry isn’t the one carrying it in. Today he’s listed as questionable and I’d assume that even if he had violent food poisoning, three days later you’re probably ready to do a light jog and splash a few buckets. Elfrid Payton will go under.

Elfrid Payton v Steph Curry

Reggie Bullock v Kelly Oubre

RJ Barrett v Andrew Wiggins

Julius Randle v Draymond Green

Nerlens Noel v James Wiseman

It’s possible James Wiseman won’t play, he’s been dealing with a wrist injury, but I have a sneaking suspicion he’ll be ready to roll. The (limited) Madison Square Garden experience could be a formative one for the youngster and I’d be willing to bet that that’s not lost ont he Warriors.

If he’s a no go, y’all better get ready for small ball!

US actor Jack Nicholson(L) jokes with New York Kni Photo credit should read KIM KULISH/AFP via Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

If Wiseman ends up playing, the Knicks would be wise to see if they can goad him into being a shooter and scorer. The best gift this kid ever got in his basketball life was brilliant teammates like Steph Curry and Draymond Green, so they won’t let him swim too far from the shore but every doggy paddle deeper should be counted as an increment of success. If James Wiseman beats you with pull ups and catch and shoot jumpers, so be it. Conversely they’ll want to drive Wiseman back when he attacks the glass. Because he gives the Warriors a fighting chance on the boards based on athleticism and size alone.

If he doesn’t play, get your track shoes on because the Warriors will be playing small ball. It’s like they got Don Nelson back. The extra shooting will open the center of the floor for one of the game’s most dangerous scorers.

Knicks by -20

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Parting Shot

Look at these Dream Teamers. Patrick Ewing, possibly the best player to ever don a Knicks uniform and Queens legend, Chris Mullin. This matchup is legendary to me and the Knicks and Warriors are kindred spirits in a lot of ways. At least from where I sit they are.

Growing up it was Tim Hardaway and Run TMC that electrified my young basketball brain. Mullin couldn’t run or jump but god damn he could shoot and pass with the absolute mightiest of them. The Warriors have seen despair handicapped themselves with baffling trades. Everyone hates the owner, even booing him during Mullin’s jersey retirement.

Of course, the Warriors were hard to catch on TV for lil’ me. There was no league pass and they weren’t part of every triple header. Had to rely on my main man, Ahmad Rashad, a lot more than the kids of today did. Meanwhile, I was from New York and MSG had every single Knicks game! Oh and the Knicks were fantastic! I’ve always held onto the underdog energy. Now as we close in on something, I’m starting to feel the rush of the fight again, that electricity in the air. It’s coming soon. As long as the Knicks don’t rush into anything stupid, they might even be able to build something like Golden State has one day.

With your support and patience everything will be just fine. Maybe Charles Oakley will even come back and excoriate us for booing James Dolan one day. One day. Let me dream, team.

Golden State Warriors v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

For deeper thoughts on dreams and just what the hell we’re doing here.