The New York Knicks are embarking upon a five-game road trip to the West Coast. How can you expect it all to play out for Knicks?
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Nov 30, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) during a game at Target Center. The Knicks defeated the Timberwolves 106-104. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The biggest test of the year thus far is here for the New York Knicks. A five game West Coast road trip, a challenge for any team regardless of where they stand. The team enters 12-10, coming off a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in which the game was over in the first quarter. Cleveland outplayed the Knicks in every aspect. Carmelo Anthony had an off night, Derrick Rose didn’t play, and Kevin Love, LeBron, and crew didn’t miss many shots.
Prior to the Cleveland game, the Knicks were the hottest team in the Eastern Conference. Winners of four straight and a 9-3 record over their past twelve games. The schedule on tap on the trip doesn’t feature many quality teams, but you can’t ignore the Golden State Warriors. The four other teams the Knicks will face are all under .500, with a combined record of 30-58. The Knicks have a chance to show this is a different type of team, how will they fare? Here are five predictions for the trip.
12/9 at Sacramento Kings
Dec 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) drives against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 106-98. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The first game the Knicks will play on the West Coast comes tonight in Sacramento, where the Knicks will face an up and down Kings team. The Kings are 8-13, and lost in MSG just recently. Demarcus Cousins had a huge night and almost led the Kings to a crazy comeback, but the Knicks were able to pull it off in the end. Cousins is doing his usual thing, averaging 28.8 points per game with over 10 rebounds per contest. Rudy Gay has also played well offensively as usual, but it hasn’t led to team success with Sacramento.
I look for the Knicks to bounce back from their embarrassing showing against Cleveland with a win over the Kings tonight. Derrick Rose is not going to play, but Brandon Jennings did have one of his best performances of the season the last game against the Kings. The Knicks are too deep for the Kings and a healthy Joakim Noah can get in Boogie’s head.
Prediction- Knicks win, 104-96
12/11 at Los Angeles Lakers
A quarter of a way into the NBA season, both the Knicks and Lakers were major surprises. The Lakers were supposed to be in the midst of a major rebuild with a very young team, but they were winning a lot of games with new coach Luke Walton. The Lakers have fallen back to Earth, losers of four in a row and now at 10-14 overall. The team has dealt with multiple injuries to major contributors, D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young. It is still up in the air whether each will play against the Knicks. The status of these players will make a major impact on the result of this game.
Mar 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) celebrates after making a shot against the Los Angeles Lakers during the fourth quarter at Staples Center. The New York Knicks won 90-87. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
The matchup to watch in this game is Carmelo Anthony against Luol Deng when Anthony is on offense. The two have battled for years and Deng has done a pretty job. There is a good chance Derrick Rose will be back for this game, giving the Knicks a big lift on offense. I expect a big game from Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis did not play in the Knicks only trip to Los Angeles last season, but I expect to thrive under the bright lights of the Staples Center.
Prediction- Knicks win, 111-102
12/13 at Phoenix Suns
Mar 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) dribbles the ball as New York Knicks guard Sasha Vujacic (18) defends in the first half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
The Jeff Hornaceck revenge game. The Knicks head coach was fired in the middle of the season just last year by the Phoenix Suns, and you know he has this game marked on his calendar. The Suns haven’t improved minus Hornaceck, as they are 6-16 on the season. However, I think they will show up for this game.
Phoenix has the personal that could give the Knicks trouble. They have two quick guards in Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. Either of these point guards could be a matchup nightmare for Derrick Rose. Then they have young wingman Devin Booker, from the same draft as Porzingis. Booker is going to be a terrific player. Manning the middle for the Suns is former Knick, Tyson Chandler. Chandler will be hyped up for this game.
With the two quick point guards, and deadly three point shooting with guys like Jared Dudley and Devin Booker, I think the struggling Suns could be a problem for the Knicks. The Suns have no problem scoring the ball, and this game will be a shootout.
Prediction- Suns win, 115-112
12/15 at Golden State Warriors
Knicks fans are going to be excited for this one, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up. The Warriors are clicking, now 20-3. The team scores over 119 points per game, led by Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. Steph Curry has had huge games against the team that almost drafted him, and I don’t expect him to slow down in this matchup.
I think these new group of Knicks will be up for the challenge. Porzingis and Anthony as an offensive duo should keep the Knicks in the game early, with Rose and Curry battling. The Knicks have someone who can give Klay Thompson a little trouble, in Courtney Lee. I think the Knicks stay in the game in the first half, however the firepower of the Warriors will be too much in Oracle Arena.
Prediction- Warriors Win, 121-106
12/17 at Denver Nuggets
Since being traded by the Denver Nuggets back in February of 2011, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks have yet to win a game in Denver. Seriously? Carmelo has yet to hav
Mar 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dribbles the ball against Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur (00) in the third quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets defeated the Knicks 110-94. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
e a huge game in his former home, but this Knicks team around him will help him change that.
The Nuggets are struggling after a decent start, now at 8-15 under head coach Mike Malone. The Knicks will see former New Yorkers Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, two fan favorites during their time at the Garden. Besides those two, the Nuggets have a good young core. Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Jusef Kurkic are the future of the team.
The Knicks have too much depth for the young Nuggets, and I expect Melo to want this win badly.