New York, is starting FINALLY starting to click and their chemistry is getting better and better. When they started off the season 3-6, everybody was in New York City wanted out and didn’t know what to think about the new team. Quickly, that has changed and the Knicks have the best record in the East in the last 10 games (7-3).
They had key wins during that stretch which came from the Hawks, Trail Blazers, Hornets, and Pistons. The Knicks are looking forward to continuing that success this week… but it’ll take some work.
Miami Heat (7- 13)
Tuesday, Dec 6TH at 7:30 PM ET Away
The Knicks begin their week in South Beach against a Wade-less Heat team that’s been struggling since the start of the season. This is the first time the Knicks have played against the Heat this year and will not face them again until March 29th in MSG. For Miami, the real point of attack is at both of their center positions with Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside has averaging 17.8 PPG, 14.9 RPG and is a top 5 center in the league right now. Whiteside will cause trouble in the paint and on the boards, and New York have had their problems with big men before. The Heat also have guys that help on offense too, like Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. New York’s focus is to put a lot of penetration and pressure on Whiteside to get him in foul trouble.
Projected Starting Lineups:
PG - Derrick Rose
SG - Justin Holliday
SF - Carmelo Anthony
PF - Kristaps Porzingis
C - Joakim Noah
( Injuries- Courtney Lee,Questionable)
Wednesday, Dec 7th 8:00 PM ET Home
After no day rest, the New York Knicks return home to face off against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (13-5 Overall). This is the second time these teams will meet, as they previously met on opening night when the Cavs humiliated the Orange and Blue. This seems like a different Knicks team, though, and this Cavs team is on a three-game losing streak. After their latest loss, Lebron James told the press: “the honeymoon is over”.
The main attraction for this game will no doubt be the battle between Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. LeBron and Melo have been friends since High School, so facing off against each other should be fun. LeBron, however, has been sitting in the back seat lately and letting Kyrie Irving take control of things.
The reigning Finals MVP is sleepwalking to a near-triple double average of 23.4/7.7/9.3 while shooting 49% from the field, while his fellow teammates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are both averaging over 20 points per game as well.
The Knicks backcourt will have their hands full on this one chasing Irving. He is the Cavaliers' leading scorer at 24.5 points per game. And, shooting at his best 48%, Kyrie Irving is currently having the best season of his career. Derrick Rose always seems to show us his best when he’s going against the top PG’s in the league, so we should see plenty from him.
Friday, December 9th 10:30 PM ET Away
After a day of rest, the Knicks fly to Sacramento to face off against DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings. This the first second time New York is facing off against the Kings, who are currently led by arguably the best big man in the league: DeMarcus Cousins. Sac-Town is having another season where they are stuck on the outside looking in the playoffs.
DeMarcus Cousins, though, is having a remarkable season, averaging 28.7 PPG, shooting at all-time best 38.1 % from the 3 point line, and 10.4 RPG. Joakim Noah will have his hands full against Cousins on the defensive side of the ball, but if the Knicks are able to neutralize Cousins' impact then they should walk away victorious. This will be a true test to measure the toughness of New York’s big men.
Los Angeles Lakers
Sunday, December 11th 9:30 PM ET Away
Melo and the crew will be coming off a rest day against the Kings and taking their talents to Los Angeles, a very young and talented team. This will be the very first time these two teams face off this year. The Lakers are shocking the world right now with how good their play has been. L.A. has been struggling lately because of injuries from D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young, but they still have one of the best bench players in the league… and that’s Lou Williams, who just put up 40 pts against the Bulls.
The Knicks will have to maintain Lou’s hot hand and control the best bench in the NBA in order to pull off the victory. Thirteen games into the season, the Lakers bench offers a staggering 51.1 points per game with help from players like Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams. New York’s bench squad will be put to the test against a tough Lakers unit, and if the Knicks are able to contain the Lakers bench they should walk away victorious.
Coach Luke Walton is making these young players believe in the system he is providing them with. Now, the Knicks must do the same.