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Knicks at Jazz - Game Preview

Cam Reddish and the Knicks hope to bounce back against the surprising Utah Jazz and MIP candidate Lauri Markkanen.



Photo By: David Dow (Getty Images North America)


Game Information:

Matchup: Knicks (6-7) at Jazz (10-5)

Location: Vivant Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City UT

Time: 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT

Watch: MSG Network


Injury Report:

NYK:

Mitchell Robinson - Out (sprained knee)


UTA:

None

After an embarrassing loss to the Thunder on Sunday, the Knicks really need a bounce-back performance tonight against the surprisingly great Utah Jazz. This starts a 5 game road trip in the West for the Knicks, starting with the team with the most wins in the West. The Jazz are coming off a 2 game-losing streak in which Joel Embiid dropped 59 points in a career game and another loss to a short-handed Wizards. So maybe the Jazz are coming back down to earth, but they still remain a threat to teams in the league.



Tonight's Knicks Storyline - Will Defense Exist?

Safe to say that giving up 145 points to any team, the Oklahoma City Thunder nonetheless, is a sign of invisible defense. Yeah sure, pretty much everyone had a great game offensively, but nobody showed up defensively. Cam Reddish showed some flashes of defensive excellence this season, and obviously, R.J. Barrett has. But that's about it. Especially with Mitchell Robinson out.


The Knicks rank 24th in defensive rating so far this season. That just isn't enough to crack the playoffs, or maybe even the play-in. On top of that, the Jazz have the 5th ranked offense in the league. I plan that this will be a recipe for disaster, but maybe the Knicks have an edge to them after their terrible defensive showing this weekend.


Who to Stop - Jordan Clarkson

Lauri Markkanen might be getting all the credit right now in Utah, but Jordan Clarkson deserves a lot of recognition as well. He's averaged 18.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 4.7 APG in this young season, and is shooting 39% from 3 on nearly 8 attempts per game. I've watched a lot of Jazz games so far this season, and he's been a critical piece to their wins and offense. Along with Markkanen and Mike Conley, he's been the reason their offensive rating is so high. If the Jazz end up falling apart, Clarkson will be a huge grab for a contender at the deadline.


Key of the Game - Help Defense

I mentioned defense in today's storyline. But to stop the Jazz, it's going to take a lot more than just man-to-man defense. The Jazz offense under new Head Coach Will Hardy largely consists of excellent, fast ball movement. They have the 4th most drives per game, 3rd most passes on drives, and 4th most points of Catch & Shoot off drives. This team is DANGEROUS when they get downhill. So if we bring guys over to help, then the secondary man from the top of the key needs to rotate to the corner, fast.

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