The Knicks will have another opportunity on Saturday afternoon to defeat a superstar if they want to make the playoffs.
The Mavericks and the NBA’s leading scorer, Luka Doncic, will visit Madison Square Garden for a matinee, giving Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks another opportunity to face one of the league’s best players. The Knicks have been defeated by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks (twice), Stephen Curry and the Warriors, Ja Morant and the Grizzlies (twice), Kevin Durant and the Nets, Jayson Tatum and the Celtics, and Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers thus far.
The closest they have gone to defeating a superstar was when they defeated Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the previous week at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks nearly defeated Morant and Antetokounmpo, but fell to the Grizzlies and Bucks by a combined 10-point margin.
Doncic, 23 years old, has become one of the best athletes in his sport. He averages 33.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game while shooting 50.5% from the field. With a player efficiency rating of 32.18, he leads the league and has now had five 40-point performances.
Luka Doncic AP
He will present a formidable challenge to the Knicks’ best perimeter defenders, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes. In a season sweep against the Mavericks last year, they held Doncic to 20-of-48 shooting and an average of 26 points per game on 20-of-48 shooting.
The Knicks will seek to stop a three-game home losing run and improve upon one of the worst home records in the Eastern Conference. Only the Hornets (three) had fewer home victories than the Kncisk (4-6) in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks’ six road victories rank second in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Celtics’ seven.
Jalen Brunson stated, “I believe that we need to bring the same energy on the road to our home games.” “Obviously, we are more comfortable at home. On the road, there are just two of us: us and the harsh surroundings. I believe we must adopt the same mindset at home and close out games.”
The Knicks have lost their previous three home games by a combined 13 points against the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, and Bucks.
General manager Nico Harrison stated on Dallas radio station KTCK The Ticket that former Knick Kemba Walker is not anticipated to play for the Mavericks until the middle of next week. Walker joined with Dallas this week after leaving the New York Knicks. Walker was dealt by the Knicks to the Pistons on draft night in order to clear salary cap space for the signing of Brunson, and Detroit eventually bought him out. Ryan Arcidiacono (left ankle sprain) did not practice on Friday for the Knicks.
Thibodeau was questioned about the NBA’s continuing investigation into the Knicks’ pursuit and acquisition of Brunson when the Mavericks were in town.
“I believe that [president] Leon [Rose] will make a comment at the proper moment. “But everyone should do their job,” added Thibodeau. Thus, this is the method we’re taking. We are quite pleased with the manner we handled the situation.”