The New York Knicks (20-18) have started winning basketball games again and will look to win for the third consecutive game when they play a rematch with the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs (12-25).
The Knicks played the Spurs in San Antonio just a few short days ago, on December 29. The Spurs pulled off the upset by winning 122-115, despite the Knicks getting 77 points combined from Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley.
The Knicks played an ugly game that night against San Antonio, as they shot just 42.2% from the field on offense and allowed 62 points in the paint on defense.
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Knicks’ defense needs to lay more cohesively:
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said that the Knicks’ defense “needs to be tied together” after that loss. Since then, they have, in fact, gotten their defense tied together.
The Knicks are coming off of a very impressive win against the Phoenix Suns, where they dominated them for virtually the entire game, holding a double-digit lead with 4:09 left in the first quarter and maintaining that the rest of the way.
They also held Phoenix to just 83 points, the second consecutive night that they held their opponent under 90 points. The defense has stepped up in a big way, and it is contributing to winning games.
On the other hand, the Spurs are coming off one of their worst losses of a season that has been filled with bad losses for them, losing by 36 to the red-hot Brooklyn Nets on the road.
Despite New York’s inconsistencies playing at home this season, they have a favorable matchup here as San Antonio has struggled mightily on the road, as they are just 5-12 in such games and have lost four consecutive road games.
The Knicks will be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this one. After not having Jalen Brunson in the first game they lost against the Spurs, they will now have him back and ready to go, which is huge for the Knicks coming into this game.
The Knicks will have to contain Keldon Johnson, who scored 30 points in their previous matchup against each other and is averaging 21.5 PPG on the season. Stopping him from having a big game will be the key for the Knicks to extend their win streak.
Looking at injuries, the Knicks have RJ Barrett (finger) listed as out and Obi Toppin (knee) listed as doubtful.
For the Spurs, Devin Vassell is questionable.
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