Pre Game News and Notes
Knicks vs. Suns
The Knicks look to get back on track and quell their first rough patch of the season against the Suns tonight. The Knicks have lost three of their last five games and look to avoid losing two games in a row for the second time this season.
-Who is going to step up?
The Knicks will need someone to step up tonight, as Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton will both be out tonight. Anthony will sit because of a knee injury and Felton is out with a pinky injury, both of which were suffered yesterday afternoon against the Lakers.
With 40 percent of the starting lineup not being available tonight, the Knicks will go with a starting lineup of Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, James White, Kurt Thomas and Tyson Chandler. Look for Chris Copeland to see some minutes off the bench with Steve Novak getting extended minutes.
J.R. Smith will come off the bench in his usual 6th man role but don’t expect him to stay out of the lineup long; the Knicks will be desperate for his shot making ability as he is the lone Knick active tonight that can create and get his own shot. Smith will have the green light tonight and it would not surprise me if he ended up taking around 30 shots tonight. For the Knicks hopefully it is an efficient shooting night for Smith, they will need him to be on top of his game tonight.
-Take it to the Suns
The Suns are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, ranking 26th in defensive efficiency. It doesn’t get much better for the Suns, as they rank 29th in defensive field goal percentage at 47.3 and are dead last in guarding the perimeter, as they allow teams to shoot 40 percent from the three point line.
This is great news for the Knicks, who have struggled recently with getting into a flow offensively but should be able to get on track tonight against the Suns even without the services of Anthony and Felton.
-Get Tyson Involved
Tyson Chandler has been enjoying a career season on the offensive side of the ball, shooting 69 percent from the field and scoring 12.6 points per game, but yesterday he struggled against the big front line of the Lakers. Getting him back on track tonight against the undersized Suns should be a point of emphasis for the Knicks.
With Anthony and Felton out tonight the Knicks will be looking for contributions from everyone to score the ball and getting Chandler involved will open things up for everyone else. Felton has struggled getting Chandler the ball in position for him to score easily, but Kidd and Pablo Prigioni will definitely be looking Chandler’s way at every chance possible.
-Let it Fly
The Knicks have not been shy in letting it fly from deep, but their percentages have dropped steadily recently. The Knicks have missed 17 or more three point attempts in their last six games played and over that span have gone 2-4.
There isn’t a better team in the NBA to turn around a shooting slump against than the Suns, who rank last in defending the 3 point shot, allowing opponents to shoot 40 percent this season. It is a perfect solution for the Knicks to get back on track as they live and die with the jump shot.
Kenneth Teape @teapester725 – Knickswag Contributor
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