Atlantic

Thunder Look For Home Win Against Knicks

Immanuel Quickley leads Knicks into matchup against the Thunder.
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 29: Immanuel Quickley #5 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on December 29, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks will try to get their first win without Julius Randle for the first time this season against the Oklahoma City Thunder. New York is coming off a close win against the Detroit Pistons, 94-85. On the same night, the Thunder were blown out by the Phoenix Suns, 115-97.

Keys for Knicks Getting Win

Play for 48 minutes

In their last two games, New York has clearly not played for a full 48 minutes. Some minutes they are cold, then they go on big runs to take a big lead. But this game could be a “trap game,” and if the Knicks don’t play with confidence and allow the Thunder to stay near the Knicks’ lead, the winning streak could come to an end.

In their previous game against the Pistons, the Knicks had a 13 points lead but gave up the lead in the third quarter. There was a four-minute of two points during the third quarter by the Knicks.

More Opportunities without Randle

Knicks fans have been waiting for this moment for a while for the young guys like Grimes, Toppin, Quickley, and Barrett to get more touches and opportunities to prove they deserve more minutes. Julius Randle entering the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols means more minutes for the younger guys. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau must trust the guys who will replace Randle in the rotation Friday night.

Obi Toppin will be expected to replace Julius Randle in tonight’s game against the Thunder. Note, I could be wrong; that is my prediction. With Evan Fournier being questionable for tonight’s game, Barrett and Quickley could see more minutes in place of Fournier. Quentin Grimes is another young guy to look for, who started on Wednesday. Grimes is averaging 4.5 points and 1.1 rebounds this season. But when Grimes plays more than 20 minutes, he has scored in double-digits.

Injury Report

Knicks

PlayerStatusInjury
Matt MooneyOut NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Evan FournierDay-to-DayAnkle
Danuel House Jr.OutFinger
Julius RandleOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Jericho SimsOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Derrick RoseOutRight Ankle
Nerlens NoelOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols

Thunder

PlayerStatusInjury
Kenrich WilliamsDay-to-DayAnkle
Sai-Gilgeous-AlexanderDay-to-DayAnkle
Vit Krejci OutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Josh GiddeyOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Aleksej PokusevskiOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Jeremiah Robsinon-EarlOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Tre MannOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols
Darius BazleyOutNBA’s Health and Safety Protocols

Game Prediction

With SGA not being 100% and the Thunder also missing Josh Giddey, this Oklahoma City squad will struggle to score. It doesn’t help when you face a team coached by Tom Thibodeau. New York will be able to pull out the win. But expect the Knicks to score below 110 points.

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