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Game Preview: Knicks @ Mavericks, 4/16/2021

A homecoming for the Crown Jules.

Shawn Bradley #44

After a quality win in Elfrid Payton’s hometown of New Orleans, the lights get a little brighter as we head to Julius Randle’s stomping grounds in Dallas. Tonight’s matchup will be televised on big, bad ESPN. Normally I’m setting up for a Friday night schedule loss. There’s just something a little different about this team right now. On a four-game win streak and probably feeling a little unsettled over their previous showdown in Madison Square with the Mavs.

The “KP Sucks!” chants might not cascade over the court and maybe Julius Randle won’t try to match nitwits with Porzingis like they did back in New York. The Mavs are just a middle of the pack defensive group, so if the Knicks stick to team ball, there is opportunity to get rolling. Stick it to the stick man.

New York Knicks v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Projected Starters

After being a supremely late scratch against the Pelicans on Wednesday, Nerlens Noel is ominously considered “questionable” here in Dallas. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. In his absence, Norvel Pelle had some nice minutes, offering some bouncy rim protection and finishing a couple plays on the other end.

Quick off the floor and with pretty good hands, he might not be as wily slapping the pill away from penetrators, but he certainly helps keep the team structure reliably in place.

Elfrid Payton v Luka Dončić

Reggie Bullock v Josh Richardson

RJ Barrett v Dorian Finney-Smith

Julius Randle v Maxi Kleber

Nerlens Noel v Kristaps Porzingis

Even if Noel can’t go, Taj Gibson terrorized Porzingis last time, sitting on his easily identifiable crossover. Just goes to show ya, even if you have Shammgod on the coaching staff, some guys just suck and shouldn’t dribble.

Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Keys & Predictions

Of course everything starts and ends with Luka Dončić for the Mavs. The NBA knows it and they’ll do whatever they can to make sure he stays in the game. I think the Knicks should rough his tearful ass up. He just crushed Memphis’ heart on Wednesday, a couple games after the Knicks trampled the Grizz.

That creep can ball, man. Yea but he’s a Maverick, dude.

There’s some kid named Frank Ntilikina that absolutely terrorizes Luka. I’d give him some run. I know you haven’t seen him in a while, he wears number 11.

Game is at 9:30 on ESPN, Knicks by -22.

New York Knicks Photo by: Joe Patronite/Getty Images

Parting Shot

Haven’t given enough love to New York legend, Stephon Marbury. One of the treasures of the city. The last great NYC point guard. Steph made his sneakers affordable and was often laughed at for ultimately just having a huge heart. Sure he got real strange, but he was an undeniable talent. A Railsplitter, Coney Island’s Finest.

Mavericks v Knicks Photo by Ray Amati/NBAE via Getty Images