New York Knicks: Preview And Prediction for Tonight’s Game Against Phoenix

Dec 13, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis reacts in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Knicks 113-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis reacts in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Knicks 113-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Knicks will try and put their three-point loss against the Washington Wizards in the rear view mirror as they face-off against the Phoenix Suns. Can they secure a win?

The New York Knicks had a golden opportunity Thursday night to steal a win at home against the Washington Wizards in the final minutes of the game. Courtney Lee passed up an open three-point attempt on the final possession, blaming Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe for interfering on the play.

Yesterday, the NBA backed up Lee’s claims of interference.

Lowe was fined $5,000 and the Wizards were fined $15,000,000.

Nevertheless, Lee and the Knicks came up short late in the fourth quarter.

Carmelo Anthony’s no-trade clause came up following the loss, forcing him to assess the situation again, despite having spoken to Phil Jackson earlier in the week.

Unfortunately, Anthony’s no-trade clause has taken over headlines again. With every loss that the Knicks suffer going forward, questions of “breaking up” the team will surround them.

While some fans in New York may want to see Anthony waive his clause, it’s unlikely that the Knicks would receive significant pieces in return for his departure.

In New York City, patience is at an all-time low. This team was put together in the offseason and are on the verge of playing in just their 45th game together.

Why break up the team? Derrick Rose is in the final year of his contract and Anthony would be much more willing to waive his clause in the offseason when he and his family have time to adjust.

If this team is broken up, the Knicks will have to wait another few seasons to contend anyway. Since patience doesn’t exist in New York, why not let this thing run it’s course?

The best chance the Knicks have at making a run in the playoffs is with this current team. The Knicks are just 2.0 games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

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The Knicks can begin their run at a playoff berth tonight as they host the Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden in what most would call a “must-win” game.

The Suns come into this game with a record of 13-29. That’s the worst record in the Western Conference. Interestingly enough, one of those 13 wins came against the Knicks back on December 13, winning in overtime, 113-111.

Here are the keys to the turning the result around:

Stay out of foul trouble

When you’re a bad defensive team, it usually includes the inability to stay out of foul trouble. It seems like every quarter the Knicks play, they get into the bonus early.

The Suns may not be a great team, but they are in the Top 10 in both free throw attempts and free  throws made. When you have a young, athletic backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker who attack the rim at will, it puts pressure on the defense.

Since the Suns aren’t a great shooting team, allowing them to get to the free-throw line and slow the game down will put the Knicks in a tough predicament.


Rebounding the basketball isn’t the end all, be all, as the Knicks out-rebounded the Wizards on Thursday night and still came up short. However, rebounding the ball against a west-coast team who likes to get out in transition is crucial.

The Suns are 16th in total rebounding, while the Knicks are fourth. The status of Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah is still unclear, but it’s safe to assume Porzingis will be a go, and Noah will likely miss another game.

The Knicks have to worry about boxing out Tyson Chandler, who averages 12.2 rebounds a game. If they can limit his rebounding and win the rebounding battle overall, they will beat the Suns.


In blowout losses, the Knicks lack effort. In close losses, the Knicks lack execution.

To execute with efficiency requires ball movement. If the Rose/Porzingis pick and roll is working throughout the game, it’ll likely work towards the end of games, too.

Anthony shouldn’t continue to play hero-ball at the end of games when the Knicks have skilled offensive players like Rose and Porzingis. Against a bad defensive team like the Suns, a simple pick and roll is likely enough to get off a good shot.

If Anthony takes another contested shot with the game on the line and comes up short, Knicks Nation will likely implode. What’s the point of having a formidable point guard if the ball isn’t going to be in his hands when it matters most?

The Verdict

Now that Porzingis has a game under his belt since returning from injury, he should feel way more confident about his shooting touch heading into tonight’s game.

It’s worth noting that in their last matchup against the Suns, Porzingis poured in 34 points on 52 percent shooting, including a 4-of-4 mark from three-point range, eight rebounds, three steals, and thrs blocks in 41 minutes of play.

It’s also worth noting that this was the game where Porzingis got into a scuffle against Marquese Chriss about three minutes into the third quarter.

It’s unclear whether Porzingis will start at power forward, center, or come off the bench. What is clear is that no matter where he’s placed, he’s a matchup nightmare for the Suns. Chriss and P.J. Tucker are too small, and Chandler is too slow.

Look for Porzingis to break out in this game, putting up a 25 and 10 rebounds.

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Knicks win from beginning to end, 118-105.

Disclaimer: There is absolutely no excuse for a team with Anthony, Rose, and Porzingis to lose twice to a 13-win team.