The New York Knicks welcome the LA Clippers in what should be an entertaining battle at Madison Square Garden. Will the Knicks upset the Clippers? Or, will the Clippers steamroll past the hosts?
Catch this game live on Monday, February 1, at 2 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: New York Knicks (9-11, 4-4 at home)
Powered by rookie Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak by scoring a 102-81 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last Saturday.
Quickley came off the bench and exploded for a game-high 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Quickley has been doing a fine job of strengthening his case in overtaking Elfrid Payton as the team’s starting point guard, though Tom Thibodeau likely loves keeping the former Kentucky Wildcat on the Knicks bench for more secondary scoring.
For one, New York is just 26th in the league with only 32.1 points per game from non-starters.
In any case,m the Knicks will rely on their defense to keep in step with the Clippers. The Knicks are tops in the league with just 102.7 points allowed per game and second in adjusted defensive rating with 106.5 points allowed per 100 possessions.
Teams are bricking shots in a game with New York more than against any team in the league, as the Knicks are holding opponents down to a horrible 42.6% shooting. Although they have gone just 1-3 straight up in their last four games, it’s certainly not due to a lack of effort defensively. They limited teams to only 102.0 points on 43.7% shooting over that stretch.
ROAD TEAM: LA Clippers (15-5, 7-3 on the road)
It feels good for the Clippers to have their superstar duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back. George and Leonard put on a show last Saturday in their 116-90 road win over the Orlando Magic after being absent together in the previous two contests due to COVID-19 related issues.
The Clippers successfully covered the 7-point spread as favorites in the Orlando game. They enter Monday’s showdown with the Knicks with a 7-7 record against the spread in 14 games this season following a straight-up win. George led the Clippers with 26 points against the Magic, while Leonard put up 24 points. George and Leonard are going to be tough to handle even for a Knicks’ team that has been stout on defense.
With two superstars taking turns on offense, the Clippers have managed to rank fourth this season in adjusted offensive rating with 115.8 points per 100 possessions. The Clippers are also second in shooting efficiency with 1.186 points per possession.
The Knicks’ offense has been salty of late, and if they are going to upset the Clippers, they need to get out of a shooting slump. That’s easier said than done, as the Clippers are also among the best defensive teams in the league.
The Clippers are averaging 113.8 points per game and allows only 106.3 per contest, seventh and third-best in the NBA, respectively.
The Clippers can play anyway the Knicks want to in this game. Like the Knicks, the Clippers can win with defense alone. Unlike the Knicks, the Clippers have a robust offense. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are going to feast in the Big Apple with their two-way play, as they lead the Clippers to a 115-104 win.