The Oklahoma City Thunder face a streaking New York Knicks team on Friday night. The NBA’s 2020-21 season continues with a matchup between two teams that are only now discovering their identity. The Knicks are suddenly winning while the Thunder won their last game in the final seconds.
The first-half schedule of the 2020-21 NBA season can be viewed here.
Fixture - Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Friday, January 8th, 7:30 PM ET (Saturday, January 9th, 6:00 AM IST)
Location - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
The Oklahoma City Thunder won a 111-110 thriller over the rising New Orleans Pelicans. George Hill gave Oklahoma a lead they would never relinquish when he knocked in two free throws with 12.1 seconds left for the game’s final points.
The New York Knicks started off the season with an 0-2 record, and they have won five of their last six games with Julius Randle leading the way. In their previous game, the Knicks came back from an 18-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Utah Jazz 112-100.
Oklahoma City Thunder Preview
For all their early-season woes, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a couple of games that could have gone their way. Coach Mark Daigneault has forged his unit into a feisty team that plays better than the sum of its parts.
When the Thunder face this New York Knicks team, it can be anyone’s ballgame. The Knicks will have a fight on their hands tonight.
Key Player - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is growing as a leader, with a few ups and downs that can easily be attributed to being a young and inexperienced floor general. George Hill may be calling the shots at the beginning, but this team gets its direction from Gilgeous-Alexander, whose 6.7 assists per game is a career-high.
Against the New York Knicks guards, he will have to dominate his opponents because Julius Randle will likely overpower his Oklahoma City Thunder matchups.
Oklahoma City Thunder Predicted Lineup
G George Hill G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander F Luguentz Dort F Darius Bazley C Al Horford
New York Knicks Preview
The New York Knicks are one of the league’s feel-good stories this season. Considered to be a non-playoff team by virtually every basketball critic, the Knicks are proving their doubters wrong, having notched up victories over the Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, and Indiana Pacers.
The team has relied on various players to support team cornerstone Julius Randle, and one or two of them will have to step up once again if they’re to beat this Oklahoma City Thunder team.
Key Player - Julius Randle
The New York Knicks’ rise to becoming one of the East's top teams has coincided with Julius Randle’s own development as a player and leader for this team. This season, Randle is averaging career-highs in points (23.1), rebounds (12.0), and assists (7.4). It’s also his first campaign to average 20-10 if he keeps this up until the end of the season.
Randle will make mincemeat of Darius Bazley if the Thunder don’t double team him.
New York Knicks Predicted Lineup
G Elfrid Payton G R.J. Barrett F Reggie Bullock F Julius Randle C Mitchell Robinson
Thunder vs. Knicks Match Prediction
When the game starts, the Oklahoma City Thunder will make it a competitive matchup. They have the personnel to hang with most teams until the final quarter. They shouldn’t be taken too lightly because of veterans such as George Hill and Al Horford.
However, the New York Knicks will be favored to win tonight’s game. The combination of Elfrid Payton, R.J. Barrett, and Julius Randle will be too much for this young Oklahoma City Thunder team. If Austin Rivers finds his stroke again - as he has the last two games - this game will be over way before the final buzzer sounds off.