Last season, the Knicks were 1-1 against the Kings. The 14-15 Knicks come into tonights game looking to push their winning streak to 7 games. Sacramento has struggled badly this season and enters the game with a 10-18 record. Despite that and the fact that New York blew out Sacramento earlier this season, I expect the Kings to give good effort tonight at Madison Square Garden. They do not play any defense but on any given night they can score the ball with anyone. It should be a great one tonight.Here is what to watch for:
- Tyreke versus the Lin King. Say what you will about Tyreke Evans but this cannot be denied. He is long, he is athletic and he can defend when he wants to. In his 6 starts with the Knicks, Lin has not matched up with a long 6’6 defender like Evans. I am interested to see what adjustments the Knick point guard makes tonight. Granted, Evans could day dream on defense all game and put in 0 effort but at Madison Square Garden that is unlikely. I think Evans is going to come out tonight and play hard. If Lin is unable to get to and finish at the rim consistently, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts. Tonight may be a game in which Lin only scores 12-14 points but has 12-14 assists. I have a feeling Lin will take on more of a distributing role tonight but I’m also a human being and I have been wrong about Lin before.
- Amar’e Stoudemire may struggle tonight. Chuck Hayes has played limited minutes as of late but the Kings may dust him off to match up with Stoudemire tonight. As a member of the Rockets last season, Hayes was able to give Stoudemire problems. Using his 6’6 frame, Hayes was able to get underneath Stoudemire and bother his jump shot. Last night in Toronto, the Knicks star struggled with his explosiveness and had 7 shots blocked. That shouldn’t be an issue with Hayes but what it says is that Stoudemire has yet to find his legs. He seemed to be re-gaining some of his lower body explosiveness but then the horrible tragedy with his brother caused him to sit out a week. His legs looked stale last night and Stoudemire failed to get rolling offensively.
- Watch out for Jimmer. Two nights ago in Minnesota, the former BYU star hit 3/5 from downtown and contributed 13 points. As much as the Knicks have improved defensively, they are still a poor defensive team defending the 3 ball. The Knicks rank 26th in the NBA in opponent 3 point percentage. I really hate Jimmer Fredette. I thought he was annoying in college and I don’t think he has an NBA game. Worst case, he is out of the league in 3 years. Best case, he’s JJ Redick. The one thing he CAN do is shoot the 3 ball. The Knicks have had some poor games defending the perimeter this year and still allow mediocre players to kill them from time to time. I think Jimmer may have a chance to splash some 3’s tonight. The Kings shot 52.9% from outside the arc against the Bulls last night. On any given night they can get hot. Knicks can’t let that happen tonight.
- Chandler > Cousins. In a battle of quality centers, I expect Tyson Chandler to shut down DeMarcus Cousins. Chandler has held Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum to 11 points total in two games this season. Earlier in the year when the Knicks and Kings met in
cowtownSac-town, Chandler held Cousins to 9 points on 2/10 shooting. The Knicks big money center has been nothing short of spectacular this year and I expect him to keep that trend going tonight.
- Knicks should score some points tonight. Earlier in the year, they blew out the Kings 114-92. The Kings rank 26th in defensive efficiency. Tonight should be a victory for New York. I think Sacramento will give a good effort but the Knicks should still win. I want to see Lin and STAT continue to work on the pick and roll. I think Lin and Chandler will connect on pick and rolls. Lets see how the Knicks shoot from the perimeter tonight. Despite the recent successes of Linsanity, the Knicks still rank 26th in the league in 3 point shooting at 30.4% from the field.
- Lin played 43 minutes last night. I expect him to have a little bit of fatigue but we will see what happens.
- If you live under a rock and haven’t seen Sports Illustrated’s new swimsuit issue, please do yourself a favor and check it out. Or just watch this.