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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Spurs- 01/10/22

San Antonio drags their rickety stagecoach from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

New York Knicks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

On Monday, the New York Knicks (19-21) host a San Antonio Spurs team (15-24) that is reeling from COVID and concluding a long, unsuccessful road trip. In December, the Knicks won the first of their two match-ups this season 121-109. RJ Barrett logged 32 points for New York, and San Antonio’s Derrick White posted 26 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.

The Spurs lost in Brooklyn yesterday, 121-119. Tonight concludes a seven-game road slog during which they have gone 1-5. The Lone Stars lack their starters White, Doug McDermott, Keldon Johnson, and the supporting talents of Tre Jones and Devin Vassell. On the farm, we would have called them easy-pickings…but Knicks fans know not to take wins for granted.

Will the Bockers rally against a depleted squad and wrangle up a victory? Or will these Texans hog-tie and humiliate our heroes?

Get your chaps out of storage, rustlers. Tip-off’s at 7:30 PM.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Point guard Dejounte Murray has averaged 18.2 points, 8.9 assists, and 8.3 rebounds this season. The 6’4”, 180 lbs playmaker is good at creating open shots for his teammates and himself. He’s leading the league with 2.1 steals per game and boasts a respectable 105.9 defensive rating. Murray totaled 15 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists when he last played New York.

Swiss-Army-Knife Alec Burks will likely start at the one unless Kemba Walker’s knee is healthy enough for a return (he’s listed as questionable).

In his third professional season, Lonnie Walker IV is averaging 11.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He’s shooting 40% from the floor, 31% from deep. The 6’4”, 204 lbs wing used to sport my favorite hair of all NBA players. Sadly, no longer. If Evan Fournier’s thigh is up to snuff (questionable, too), he should get shots against LW4, who’s not known for his defense.

Rookie forward Joshua Primo has averaged 3.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in about 10 minutes per game. The 6’6”, 190 lbs Alabama product gets to start due to the ravages of COVID. Let’s see what the twelfth pick of the 2021 draft does against 2019’s third pick, RJ Barrett.

Power forward Keita Bates-Diop is collecting 5.3 points and four rebounds per game. KBD has a heckuva wingspan at 7’3.25” and measures 6’8”, 229 lbs. He scored nine points in his last match-up with Julius Randle, who should be ready to crack one off after an onerous week.

Center Jakob Poeltl has averaged 12.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in about 29 minutes per game. The 7’1”, 245 lbs Austrian has a 109 defensive rating and swats about one and a half blocks per outing. Mitchell Robinson struggled against Boston’s Robert Williams III in the last two games, and Poeltl looks to be another tough opponent. In related news, Nerlens Noel has been upgraded to questionable and is close to making his 2022 debut.

PREDICTION

On their road trip, the Spurs were walloped by the Grizzlies, Raptors, and Sixers, lost overtime games to the Pistons and Nets, and barely survived the Celtics. This one appears to be a slam-dunk for the Knicks but never underestimate a Gregg Popovich-coached team. San Antonio gave Kevin Durant and company a run for their money yesterday. If the Knicks play in a languid manner as they’re oft to do…well, our boys could get pantsed. So don’t be languid, Knicks, and you might win by 15.

The World’s Most Famous. 7:30 PM. Ride ’em, Knickerbockers!