It is defense vs defense as the New York Knicks host the Los Angeles Clippers in a rare afternoon NBA clash at the Garden. Both of them ride into this game with winning momentum behind them.
Date & Time: January 31, 2021, 1pm ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York
Records: Knicks (9-11), Clippers (15-5)
Preview | New York Knicks
After the 102-81 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they are now in Playoff contention (eighth spot in the table). And it is the least they deserve as the Tom Thibodeau coached team has the best defensive rating in the NBA.
Their young core is firing on all cylinders; RJ Barrett is making real progress in his sophomore season while 2020 NBA draft pick Immanuel Quickley is banishing the demons of Kristaps Porzingis.
Though the center of their upturn in fortunes is really Julius Randle who is averaging career-highs of 22.2 points and 11.1 rebounds.
Starting 5 for the New York Knicks
Guard – Elfrid Payton
Guard – RJ Barrett
Center – Mitchell Robinson
Forward – Alec Burks
Forward – Julius Randle
Preview | Los Angeles Clippers
When it comes to playing a tight defense, the LA Clippers aren’t far behind their opponents. They rank at 4th place in defensive ratings this season, led by former defensive player of the year, Kawhi Leonard. Talking about him, The Klaw may be slightly doubtful for this encounter.
He and Paul George returned and showed no rust in their win against the Orlando Magic after missing two games previously because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Though, he may soldier on even after a mere 36-hour recovery period.
But the most important player for them this season has been Paul George and not Leonard. He is playing at an all-star starter level with 23.9 points per game at 50.4% shooting from the field. Maybe Pandemic P was something specific to the Bubble after all.
Starting 5 for the Los Angeles Clippers
Guard – Reggie Jackson
Guard – Paul George
Center – Serge Ibaka
Forward – Nicolas Batum
Forward – Kawhi Leonard
Predictions | Knicks vs Clippers
While the Clippers will arrive as the slight favorites, one cannot count out the Knicks so easily. If they unlock the Clippers’ defense, they may have a shot at upsetting their more fancied opponents. Otherwise, Ty Lue’s side will make short shrift of the New Yorkers.
READ MORE- Why did Paul George Change his Jersey Number from 24 to 13?
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