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Knicks at Nuggets - Game Preview

Knicks guards hope to build off of a big performance vs. Utah, as the Knicks travel to Denver to take on a Jokić-less Nuggets.



Photo By: David Dow (Getty Images North America)


Game Information:

Matchup: Knicks (7-7) at Nuggets (10-5)

Location: Ball Arena, Denver CO

Time: 10:00pm ET/8:00pm PT

Watch: MSG Network


Injury Report:

NYK:

Mitchell Robinson - Out (sprained knee)


DEN:

Aaron Gordon - Questionable (non-COVID illness)

Ish Smith - Doubtful (right calf strain)

Colin Gillespie - Out (right lower leg fracture)

Bones Hyland - Out (health and safety protocols)

Nikola Jokić - Out (health and safety protocols)

Look at that! The Knicks beat an above-average NBA team in 4 quarters of professional basketball. They beat the Jazz last night thanks to big games from Jalen Brunson, Obi Toppin, and Cameron Reddish. But they'll face a new task tonight, in the 2nd game of a 5 game road trip. They'll be up against a team led by bubble legend Jamal Murray and former Knicks draft prospect Michael Porter Jr. Tonight, the Nuggets will be without reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokić, and possibly without two key rotational players for Head Coach Michael Malone, PF Aaron Gordon, and PG Ish Smith.


Tonight's Knicks Storyline - The Toppin Tobacale

Obi Toppin was magnificent last night. He ended the game with 9 Points, 6 Rebounds, and 4 Assists in just 18 minutes of action. He was a team-high +23 in the 7-point win. Yet, he was subbed out with 6:20 left in the 4th for Julius Randle, who was a team-worst -12. As soon as Randle came in, he committed a heinous foul, gave up many drives to guys like Kelly Olynyk, and did absolutely nothing offensively for the remaining duration of the game. At least Toppin brings energy and hustle to a team that lacks in that aspect. The same goes for Immanuel Quickley and Jericho Sims.


It's incredible that Thibodeau has zero trust in the young guys, and continues to stick to a certain rotation that has proven time and time again that does not work. But these young guys probably saved him a few more weeks on the job with last night's win. So maybe Thibs looks back on the performance and decides to play the guys who impact the game in a positive light. But knowing Tom, he'll go back to play Randlefor 37 minutes.


Who to Stop - Michael Porter Jr.

MPJ has been electric to start the season for the Nuggets. This is a huge bounce-back year for the former lottery pick who signed a $207M max extension last off-season. This season he is averaging 18 Points per game on a 50% field goal percentage and 48% from 3. He's been deadly from beyond the arc, and the Knicks need to throw everything at him defensively just to have a shot at him missing from 3. But even if you stop Porter Jr. from shooting, they still got Jamal Murray and role players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown, and Jeff Green.



Key of the Game - Get Out on Shooters

The Nuggets come into tonight's contest with the third-highest three-point percentage in NBA history for a team. At 42.3% on the year thus far, the Nuggets have stretched the defense that has allowed their paint offense to flourish. A large part of the three-point barrage is because of playmaking wizard Nikola Jokić. So maybe with Jokić out tonight, the Nuggets' damage from behind the arc is minimal.

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