The Knicks, seven-game losers, have the first straight game in sunny California against the Clippers, five-game winners in a row.
The New York Knicks (25-38) travel to Crypto.com Arena to take on the Los Angeles Clippers (34-31). This will be the second game of the season between the two teams, with the Knicks victorious in their Jan. 23 game 110-102. New York currently sits eighth in the lottery standings, losing 15 of its last 17 games, while Los Angeles, winners of five straight games, continues to fight for its life in the playoffs, sitting comfortably in eighth place. of the Western Conference.
The Knicks are in freefall. Losers of their last seven games and moving further and further away from a play-in position, the Knicks are going to have to hope that this lost season is one that will hopefully shape the franchise for the better.
RJ Barrett continues to play well and add elements to his game. Even after an average game against Philadelphia, Barrett came back in the home and away series against the Sixers and played well. He continues to emerge as a player who should have All-Star buzz heading into the 2022-23 season. As for the rest of the children, they produce in smaller roles. Solid cameos from Cam Reddish, Jericho Sims and Immanuel Quickley in recent games have helped cover up the fact that the Knicks are playing poorly, especially in the second half of games.
And of course the Knicks are back in the draft. Currently eighth in lottery odds, New York has 25 wins, with San Antonio and Sacramento “ahead” with 24 wins, and Indiana top three with 22. There’s a legitimate chance for the Knicks to reach the top five odds, which could push them into a position to pick up top talent, like Duke’s AJ Griffin or Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, or earn another asset for a potential star job, in a world where someone one becomes available.
There are still chances and opportunities to do more in this now lost season. Miles “Deuce” McBride hasn’t really found any minutes in the rotation yet, which could help New York find a point guard in Derrick Rose’s absence. Sims, who did an honorable job against Joel Embiid, should be online for more minutes going forward as his athleticism gives him a viable lob threat on offense and deterrence on defense.
And New York will continue to navigate this losing season with a game Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Is it fair to say the Clippers are admirable? Paul George is injured and has only played 26 games this season, Kawhi Leonard is yet to play this season after recovering from an ACL injury, and Norman Powell, a great mid-season acquisition of Portland, was injured. just two games into his Clippers tenure. And yet, not only does LA head coach Ty Lue have this team in the midst of a playoff push, but the team is also seventh in the league in defensive efficiency.
Los Angeles has sailed well this season without its top three players. Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson took on bigger roles in their stars’ absences, with occasional big performances to rob them of a win. Luke Kennard has been turned off from the outside this season, giving them someone to focus on on defenses. Terance Mann was helpful, but the step up from the 2021 playoffs didn’t happen. Ivica Zubac was a solid big man, veteran Nicolas Batum was helpful off the bench and Amir Coffey was a pleasant surprise.
It all adds up to a team that has battled with the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets for a sixth-place finish in the West, but Los Angeles’ 26th-ranked offense the has largely kept at the bottom of this list. group. Good enough to ward off New Orleans, Sacramento and their Los Angeles counterparts for the eighth seed, but not good enough to get into that next group. If Powell and George can get back before the playoffs, the Clippers could secure playoff seeding and win the mini-tournament, but I can’t see anything more than that.
But next season? IWait for the Clippers to regain their form and reclaim their status as one of the toughest teams in the league.
TKW PRIZE OF THE EVENING
The Knicks Wall’s exclusive partnership with PrizePicks showcases the night’s picks. Tonight we pick RJ Barrett to hit his “plus” on a combined projection of 33.5 points, rebounds and assists. As for the Clippers, Reggie Jackson, averaging 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists in four games since the All-Star break, is the ‘plus’ pick on a combined projection of 31.5 points. , rebounds and assists.
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What to watch
Cam Reddish Minutes: Knicks Twitter almost had a heart attack when Tom Thibodeau replaced Cam Reddish for quite a while. Reddish has adapted to his time in the rotation and all the tools are flashing – expansive ground game, good defensive tools, attacking awareness of titled defenses – Reddish looks great. I’m curious to see how Thibs deploys him again, and if he decides to extend the leash a bit in his place in the rotation.
Resurgence of Emmanuel Quickley: After a dry spell of about three weeks, Immanuel Quickley is back at three and looking like rookie year Quickley. Personally, I’d love to see him get more rep on the ball, but Thibodeau will have to balance ball-handling responsibilities with an emerging RJ Barrett offensively. Either way, Quickley continuing to shoot and staying in Thibodeau’s graces is a good thing.
Tanking Thibodeau: At this stage, Tom Thibodeau can no longer help himself. The same things that have helped him in the past have hurt his current tenure with the Knicks. He’s been great for the New York tank, between keeping two centers in the rotation, Alec Burks as starting point guard, and relying on veterans at the worst times, can’t wait for Thibodeau to mismanage another game this season .
Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose and Quentin Grimes to stay outside. Obi Toppin will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.
The tip is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET, airing on ESPN, MSG Network and Bally Sports SoCal.
READ: Is Cam Reddish locked into the Knicks’ rotation at this point?
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»READ: Establishing an ideal, yet realistic, potential roster for next year’s Knicks