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Game Preview: Knicks @ Thunder, 3/12/2021

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OKC Chunder

Detlef Schrempf

The Thunder just did the Knicks’ draft capital a solid on Thursday night, slipping by the Mavs for a toasty victory. Now they’re doing New York another turn with parts of their roster in flux and their most dynamic player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, sitting due to a quad contusion.

The Knicks are dangerously close to falling under .500 for the first time in what seems like forever. The last time they met the Thunder things didn’t go so well with OKC wisely circling the drain of New York’s tightly wound offense. Well, we don’t have to go over the past.

Seattle SuperSonics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Projected Starters

Your guess is as good as mine here. So much in flux both ways, though New York seems to be on more solid footing. The Knicks will be missing Derrick Rose still and tonight Elfrid Payton is uncertain.

I don’t know about you, but I personally think the Knicks could figure out a way to mitigate the loss of Payton’s ability to drive to the rim. Both Frank Ntilikina and Immanuel Quickley have proven to be much more capable shooters than Elfrid despite having a harder time getting all the way downhill. While the neophytes rely on pick and roll almost exclusively to get to the rim in the half court, they also have the exuberance to get the ball across half court with more chutzpah.

Frank Ntilikina v Theo Maledon

Reggie Bullock v Svi Mykhailiuk

RJ Barrett v Luguentz Dort

Julius Randle v Aleksej Pokuševski

Nerlens Noel v Al Horford

Oh hey, look at that, this kid that just played against the Knicks in Detroit has been traded to the Thunder and it seems highly plausible he’ll be pressed into action. Whatever, didn’t seem like he knew any secrets.

Seattle SuperSonics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

After a horrendous return from the All-Star break, Julius Randle should be expected to go full throttle against a certain Serbian teenager that very closely resembles Pixy Stix. He better not decide to let him roam free on the perimeter though. Too often we’ve seen Crown Jules be willing to see if some goofy-footed big man can shoot the Knicks out of it. Sadly that tactic has had teeth. While Pokuševski is shooting a frigid .194 from three so far this year, he certainly seems footloose and fancy free. If there’s room to let it fly, box out I suppose.

Game is at 2:00, Knicks by -14

Seattle SuperSonics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Parting Shot

I don’t want to see the Knicks fall below .500 ever again. We need that do-it-all big man to bring the goods tonight today.

Seattle Super Sonics v New York Knicks Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images