Last season, the Knicks won 54 games and a division title behind the third ranked offense in the NBA. They got there by hoisting and making a league leading number of three pointers and maintaining the lowest turnover rate in the NBA.
This is a different Knicks team. Four of their six leading three point shooters from last season are either gone (Steve Novak, traded to Toronto, Jason Kidd coaching the Nets, and Chris Copeland in Indiana as a free agent) or have yet to appear (J.R. Smith serving a five game drug suspension).
As a result, they have made only 12 threes over their first two games, a win at home in their opener over the Milwaukee Bucks, and a loss in Chicago to the Bulls when Derrick Rose made up for a poor performance by hitting the game winner with five seconds left.
As befitting his somewhat odd and aged roster, Mike Woodson is trying some things. First, he's mixing and matching his starting lineups based on opponents, swapping out summer acquisition Andrea Bargnani and 2nd year Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni, who have each started once already. Bargnani will go against the Wolves:
Woodson says he will go with a big lineup vs. Minnesota tomorrow.
Woodson says he will go with a big lineup vs. Minnesota tomorrow.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 2, 2013
Woodson says Amare will be off tomorrow.
Woodson says Amare will be off tomorrow.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 2, 2013
It will be another big assignment for Corey Brewer, as he faces the isolation loving Carmelo Anthony, whose strong frame might give Brewer difficulties. Still, much like against OKC, we might see significant help on the star, while the Wolves force others to beat them. It worked against the Thunder, as nobody could make them pay, we'll see if the same strategy leads to the same results tonight.
Meanwhile, the Wolves come in off their big win over the Thunder on Friday night, and have gotten good play out of most of their rotation.
Kevin Love has dominated the first two ballgames, and will look to exploit Andrea Bargnani, especially on the boards.
Unfortunately, the Wolves will be without their backup center Ronny Turiaf, out with a broken elbow, and will look to rookie Gorgui Dieng to fill that spot. However, with the Knicks not really having a second center in their rotation, it might be a game in which Rick Adelman goes center-less himself for some stretches, especially when Tyson Chandler is on the bench. We'll see.
We'll be back later with a game thread.