Pre Game News and Notes
Knicks vs. Pistons: MSG,NBATV 3pm
The Knicks and Pistons will face-off for the second time this season in much different circumstances than the first; this time they will be playing against each other across the pond in London, England. The first meeting the Knicks won 121-100 at Madison Square Garden and will be looking to put on a show much in the same way for the fans in London. The Knicks will look to keep up the good vibes from their win Sunday against the Hornets, which will not be easy as the Pistons have been playing some good basketball as of late.
-What will the lineups look like?
With Iman Shumpert presumably making his return to the Knicks lineup Thursday against the Pistons, the question is who will be the odd man out? There are whispers that Shumpert may even crack the starting lineup, which in that case he would be replacing James White.
How Mike Woodson uses Shumpert will be something to keep an eye on as he will need time to work back into game shape and get into the flow of things; he will bring an added dimension to the Knicks that has been lacking though in perimeter defense.
Another thing to keep an eye on is how Woodson uses Tyson Chandler, who is said to be battling an illness and is having his availability being questioned by people around the team.
If Chandler is unable to go, the Knicks lineups will change drastically. Amar’e Stoudemire would most likely find his way into the starting lineup at center as the Knicks would be scrambling to put together a lineup against what is a formidable Pistons front-line. Smart money would be to expect Chandler to suit up, but is effectiveness will be something to keep an eye on.
-Control the Paint
The Pistons have one of the best up and coming big men in the NBA in Greg Monroe, who is leading the team in scoring and rebounding at 15.5 and 9.2 per game. Monroe is a more than willing passer as well, averaging 3.2 assists per game.
The Knicks will have their hands full even when Monroe is off the court in rookie big man Andre Drummond, who is already a force on the defensive end for the Pistons. Averaging a team high 1.6 blocks per game and 7.3 rebounds a game is impressive as he only gets 19.7 minutes per game.
The Knicks will have to look to keep them off the boards in addition to Jason Maxiell, who averages 6.0 rebounds per game, as the Pistons have a three-headed monster in the paint that the Knicks will struggle to keep up with.
Chandler will have his hands full there, as Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace are both still out. Amar’e Stoudemire showing up and being a force on the boards will be welcomed by the Knicks as they need a team effort on the glass to compete with the Pistons.
-Bring it on Defense
With Shumpert returning to the lineup the Knicks should get back into their groove on the defensive end. Much like Avery Bradley returning for the Boston Celtics, Shumpert can have that impact with the Knicks.
Shumpert will help the Knicks in the area they are lacking most right now, which is slowing down the perimeter players. Jason Kidd has been incapable of slowing down the quicker guards the Knicks have had to play and perimeter players have gone off on the Knicks.
It will be a good test for Shumpert right off the bat, as the Pistons have two dangerous guards in Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey.