The New York Knicks (18-17) have a favorable matchup on Thursday, playing the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs (11-23) as their three-game road trip in the Texas Triangle continues.
Both teams suffered losses in their previous games, but the Knicks, in particular, suffered a devastating loss in their last game against the Dallas Mavericks, losing 126-121 in overtime after blowing a nine-point lead with 33 seconds left in regulation, and also allowing Mavericks guard Luka Doncic to secure the first 60/21/10 game in NBA history.
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The Knicks need to bounce back short-handed against the Spurs:
The Knicks will now have to try to recover from that shocking defeat and snap their skid that seems to have no predictable ending.
The Spurs’ 11-23 record is 14th in the Western Conference, and are close to the bottom of the league in nearly every major statistical category, including ranking dead last in the NBA in defensive rating and second to last in offensive rating.
Despite the highly favorable matchup against one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Knicks seem to be facing their biggest set of challenges so far this season.
Along with the aforementioned heartbreaking loss, the Knicks have lost four consecutive games – all of which have felt winnable – and are missing forward RJ Barrett for “a week or so” with a lacerated right index finger he suffered within the opening minutes of the Dallas game.
Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson is currently listed as questionable due to a hip injury, and they are already missing Obi Toppin to a knee injury, meaning that head coach Tom Thibodeau may have no choice but to pull at least one of Evan Fournier or Cam Reddish back into the rotation to fill in the missing pieces until they return.
With the Knicks’ options as thin as ever right now, they will certainly be heavily reliant on Julius Randle to continue playing like his All-NBA form for the foreseeable future. Randle scored 29 points with 5-11 three-point shooting and snagged 18 rebounds in the Knicks’ loss to the Mavericks on Tuesday.
In the month of December, Randle is averaging 26.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and is shooting 47.5% from the field and 35.5% from 3. The Knicks are 8-5 in the month of December.
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