NY Knicks vs. Mavericks: 3 key matchups in a heated game

Julius Randle, Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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NY Knicks
Julius Randle, Kristaps Porzingis, NY Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

NY Knicks: All eyes will be on Porzingis vs. Randle

Anytime you bring up Kristaps Porzingis’ name to Knicks fans, you’re bound to get a reaction. The trade is still unfolding in real-time as we still don’t know what the draft picks the Knicks got in return will amount to. For now, we can focus on the matchup between the Latvian 7 footer and the Knicks’ own dominant frontcourt star, Julius Randle.

These two may not be directly matched up on one another on every possession, but they will certainly be crossing paths throughout the game. I fully expect Tom Thibodeau to throw Julius Randle on Porzingis when he’s parked on the perimeter. Randle has proven capable of guarding stretch-4s this season.

Although Porzingis has spent a majority of his playing time this season at center (88%, from Cleaning The Glass) he certainly operates all over the court on offense. Randle should be able to track him effectively, and one of the most important battles will be on the glass. Neither team is particularly good on the glass (Especially with Mitchell Robinson out) so these two will both be duking it out for boards in the paint, an area where Randle has the edge.

The Knicks need to make Porzingis work all game long, and that involves him guarding Randle on the perimeter. The Mavericks will likely throw a slew of different looks at Randle (Porzingis, Finney-Smith, Kleber) but Porzingis’ perimeter defense is not a strong suit. This is an area The Knicks need to attack any change they have. This game will feature a lot of perimeter spacing, and the less the paint is clogged, the more effective Julius Randle is.