The Utah Jazz (3-3) take on the New York Knicks (2-3) this afternoon. We all like the clown on the Knicks, the best ever franchise with two total championships, but are they really a team Utah can make fun of? After all, they do have two (1970 and 1973) and our guys have zero? Well, they seem to be run by the legendary Phil Jackson and have smart and efficient head coach Jeff Hornacek on the sidelines. So things have to look up, right? Let’s see what Knicks fans have to say:
Okay, maybe that’s not entirely the most effective say to get information across.
These Knicks aren’t horrible. They play at a middle of the pack pace of play (18th), and are an average offensive team (100.8 ppg, 104.3 ORTG). So that’s a start. They don’t turn the ball over that much, and are shooting well from deep, .351 (12th in the NBA). They do not get to the line, pass well, or shoot good shots every time down the floor. But it’s a work in progress.
Defensively New York needs more help. They are last in the league at protecting their glass. They give good looks to their opponents, and they don’t foul much. Is this an effort thing? They are last in the league in steals as well.
I guess part of this is their team make-up. Aside from Joakim Noah, and perhaps Kyle O’Quinn and Maurice Ndour, do they have any effort players? Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and Brandon Jennings are gunners. Courtney Lee is solid and helps any team he is a part of, but I think he’s a quiet voice on and off this court.
Kristaps Porzingis is going to be great, but I don’t know if these are the vets I want him learning from. They do have Sasha Vujacic though, so there’s that.
Utah hasn’t had a lot of success in MSG, but they could tonight. They are getting a big boost back with Gordon Hayward returning. And for the most part, they have played well. I call this a loss if they beat San Antonio a second time. Thankfully the Spurs took the Jazz down a notch. And I think Quin Snyder is happy about that. It means there’s more work to be done, and his players should know it after having their lunch taken from them by the Spurs in Utah.
Because of that loss they may be a little more focused on this trip. And that has to start with a good start this afternoon against the Knicks.
Marquee Match-up: Hayward vs. Anthony
Carmelo is Mr. Team USA. Gordon hasn’t been selected even once. Melo’s won an NCAA championship. Gordon was a runner up. Melo’s been an All-Star and a primary option his entire career. Gordo hasn’t. But tonight it’s a chance for Gordon to take it to Melo and hopefully prove some sort of point about late bloomers.
If this was the old Knicks, I’d expect Melo to be slapping Hayward’s hand all game long, though. I miss the 90s basketball.
X-Factor: Trey Lyes ‘ birthday
I don’t know what these guys did last night, but they had to have done something. Utah usually loses in New York. That’s because they usually have at least one night off in New York before the game. You can do the math there.