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Game Preview: Knicks @ Spurs, 3/2/2021

Can the Knicks notch a four game spurt?

New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The coastal elite literati city folk have invaded the Lone Star State to tag team the Spurs. I’m sure the anti-gun legislation to follow in their wake will drop the frozen-over state into a deep identity crisis and economic ditch. Those gangsters! It’s like my Pappy always said to me, he’d say “Son, if there’s a bad guy with a gun just setting there eating brunch with you, minding their bad mind, in a ristorante, well you can simply pull out a gun and say I’m gonna make you pay for this.” Surely that’s right, Pa. Surely that’s right.

Last night the Nets accidentally did the Knicks a solid by tripping over their shoelaces in regulation which led to a wild Dejounte Murray shot that sent it to overtime.

In the extra frame, Brooklyn took their glove off, backhanded them and ran away with it. Just the same, the added distress of an overtime loss and now their second game in as many nights could prove fortuitous for a certain orange and blue team.

Tonight the Manhattanites enter the fiesta center with the fright inventor, the freight train of pain, Julius Randle. Look out! The Knicks’ All Star has been gutting teams all season and if his jumper continues to annihilate everyone, how do you stop him from getting to the rim? Boy that’s trouble.

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Projected Starters

The offense has looked a little more potent with Derrick Rose leading the charge. Looks like that will continue at least for now.

It’s definitely possible that even when Elfrid comes back, Rose will remain with the starting unit. The simple addition of basic competence shooting the basketball has been a nice little wrinkle to the starvation diet they’ve been surviving on through the first half of the season.

Derrick Rose v Dejounte Murray

Reggie Bullock v Lonnie Walker IV

RJ Barrett v DeMar DeRozan

Julius Randle v Trey Lyles

Nerlens Noel v Jakob Poeltl

The Spurs have had a bad stretch here, even having to cancel a meeting with the Knicks a week ago due to COVID protocols. Today it looks like they’ll remain without several key players. Thankfully at the very least, Coach Gregg Popovich is on the path.

Really am hoping everyone can get their vaccine and soon! Welp, heaven forbid anyone have positive thoughts on greater societal health. Let’s stick to something apolitical like a friendly game of basketball that will be played by two teams of predominantly young black men. Some of whom will not be able to be with their team or in the arena for fear of spreading a potentially deadly, certainly extremely debilitating virus. The guys that can’t play are:

Rudy Gay

Derrick White

Devin Vassell

Quinndary Weatherspoon

Missing those gents seems likely to have an adverse effect on the sports at hand. The sports that I’d like to stick to, mind you. I just had to accidentally include something else (health). If you don’t like it, drive by it.

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

The Knicks playing the NBA’s slowest pace has taken a toll on teams around the league when they have fresh legs. I imagine it makes some tired legs a little heavier. So grind them down, use the bruising nature of Julius as a hub to your offense and keep dogging them on defense.

Now sporting the NBA’s second best defensive rating I’m sure it’s time for the depleted Spurs- the league’s 22nd ranked offense- to make so many threes that the Knicks finally regress to that mean I’ve been hearing so much about. I don’t know if you’ve heard but the Knicks allow the most three point attempts and teams just completely and irrevocably by luck (and luck alone) have not being making a high percentage of their attempts.

Now, ok, they allow those shots, from those locations more often than most NBA teams. Yet...

The teams they are facing through 35 games are strictly unlucky. That’s the only thing at play here. Well, the median three point percentage in the league this year is 36.6% The Spurs shoot 36.2% on 30.2 attempts per game, the fourth lowest mark in the NBA. Quick math:

Knicks by -66.4

New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Parting Shot

I’ve done literally every game preview both here and at The Strick Dot Land so far this season. It’s been challenging to come up with two different angles on one game’s preview but I’ve been doing my level best. While that has gone on, I’m making practically all the artwork over there and it’s become a bit of a time and energy suck. I have been making progress, installing more rules for myself as I grow and learn. I’m no fine artist, but I do hope to help bring a consistent, exciting and unique visual language to what’s going on over there.

So in an effort to focus my efforts and do one thing really well rather than two things somewhat poorly, I’m stepping away from writing the dot land previews to give all the wonderful people here at P&T my undivided attention. I do hope you go check out that site, enjoy the art, the writing and hopefully find new perspectives from the friends who take it on.

New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Check out the first one by dot land’s E&C (good joke), Alex Wolfe! <3