Wednesday, November 27, 2013

W2W4: New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Clippers

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Pre-Game News and Notes

The Knicks will take their six game losing streak into Los Angeles to take on the Clippers Wednesday night. Things will not be easy for the Knicks as nothing is going right currently for them and some candid interviews post game are starting to raise some questions as to where this team really is. Mike Woodson says that he does not think he has lost the locker room but that is not where the problem persists for this team; it is on the court, specifically the defensive end. It will be a tall task to take down the Clippers in Los Angeles but if the Knicks are to turn around their season a win there would be an outstanding start.

-Player News

The Knicks look like they will have Raymond Felton back on the court tonight as he is probable to play against the Clippers. It is nice to hear but, Felton’s defense and play overall has been underwhelming this season as he has dealt with lingering injuries. What Felton will bring to the court today is anyone’s guess as he is not in game shape having not played since November 16th. It is unknown how many minutes he will get in the game or if he will even start at all.

Another question this raises is how the rest of the point guards, Beno Udrih and Pablo Prigioni, will now fit into the rotation. Udrih had been solid starting in place of Felton but the results have not shown in the win column. It is clear that Woodson does not feel comfortable with Prigioni playing the point by himself so his minutes should be what they have been all season; fluctuating and unknown game to game.

-Is It Possible to Slow Down CP3?

The Knicks struggles guarding the opposing guard position have been well documented thus far this season and they will face quite possibly their tallest task in slowing down Chris Paul. Paul has been unstoppable this season, going for double-doubles in every game but one; in that game he finished with nine assists. Things could get ugly fast for the Knicks as they have been getting torched by less accomplished point guards such as John Wall, George Hill and Jeff Teague in the last week alone.

The responsibility of slowing down Paul will fall upon the trio of Felton, Udrih and Prigioni. They have been unable to do it thus far this season so it is hard to imagine them doing it tonight. One thing we could see tonight is a little more Iman Shumpert on the point guard. J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, the two starters on the wings for the Clippers, are not going to create their own shots; they get their scoring off running through picks and spotting up in the corners. It would not be shocking if Woodson has his point guard follow them around and try his hand at Shumpert against Paul.

-Bench Battle

The Knicks and Clippers both have potent go-to scorers on the bench in J.R. Smith and former Knicks Jamal Crawford. Which one performs up to their capabilities could help turn the tides in the game.
Thus far this season Smith has struggled to live up to the contract the Knicks gave him this offseason as he has averaged 12.4 points per game on only 32 percent shooting. Smith had offseason knee surgery and still looks like he is coming along and recovering from it. Those numbers are a far cry from the ones he put up last season to earn the Sixth Man of the Year award when he averaged 18.1 points per game on 42 percent shooting.

On the contrary Jamal Crawford is having a career year shooting from the floor, shooting 46.4 percent thus far on the season. This coincides with Crawford playing the least amount of minutes per game he has had since he played with the Chicago Bulls in 2002-2003. His per game scoring average is slightly below his career average of 15.4 with 14.9 but that can be attributed to his poor start from the foul line. Once he gets that closer to his career average Crawford will be in line for his most efficient season of his career. 

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