The Jizz are far from the same team they were since booting D Williams, and their post trade statistics are not available. So, instead of a categorical/statistical perusal, I'll feature some focal match ups I consider keys to a much needed victory. and elaborate on the roles of integral bench players.
Focal Match Up ①
And it is pivotal to our success. A lot of offence against a lot of defence. Kirilenko is an incredibly versatile player. He's inconsistent offensively, but can put the ball on the floor and pass exceptionally well. Amazing athlete with an albatross' wingspan.
Our reliance on Anthony's point production will be tested tonight against an All NBA defender. Though he's dropped off significantly after a calf injury, AK47 still fills up the major defensive categories, and presents a problem for our go to scorer on the block.
Though he may not look it, Kirilenko actually outweighs Melo 235 pounds to 230, and is an inch taller, but has a 7'4" wingspan to bring to this head to head battle, to Melo's 6'11". This isn't MMA, but I figured it worth mentioning as rebounding will once again be a struggle for us.
Carmelo is undeniably the stronger of the 2, and will no doubt utilise the advantage.
Focal Match Up ②
At 6'10" & 280, Big Al Jefferson posts another size problem for The Knicks on the glass. He corrals 9.2 RPG, and as history proves, opponent bigs have career rebounding nights against our team.
Lateral movement defensively is a weak point for Jefferson, and the league's best high post PF, STAT, should go on yet another offensive tirade.
The inevitability of Stoudemire posing any threat on the offensive glass becomes less of a likelihood, with not only Jefferson impeding him, but the Jazz's newly acquired rookie, Derrick Favors.
Jefferson has a myriad of post moves, but a lack of athleticism should allow for Stoudemire to challenge his shots. I predict that STAT will block at least 1, perhaps 2 of his attempts.
Focal Match Up ③
Though he's outmatched for pace and height, look for Billups to discombobulate Harris on both ends of the floor. Superior strength and a versatile post up game are 2 big advantages for Billups, and his ability to draw fouls on a whim make this a match up the Knicks can't afford to not capitalise upon.
Focal Match Up ④
This, IMO, is the second most important match up to Kirilenko V Anthony. If Fields is to have as productive a night as he did in that whore of a game against Cleveland, he could well be the X factor in providing a crucial win as the season closes. Bigger, stronger, more athletic and with an impressive wang, Fields SHOULD look to provide some much needed offence and his trademark intangibles in what is a match up that's clearly in our favour.
Utah's X Factors
● CJ Miles killed us in our previous encounter with Utah. He's a heady player on both ends and rarely makes mistakes. At stages he'll guard Carmelo Anthony, which is where he becomes a disadvantage for his team. He lacks physical strength and if the scouting reports are on to it, we'll look to beat him down with The Beast On The Block. Containing him offensively is the key.
● Earl Watson, though he looks like a shaved Ewok, is a big plug off the bench for Utah. Offensively and defensively, Watson is capable of disrupting any team unprepared for him.
NYK X Factors
We all know what they're capable of, but Williams in particular needs to bring some help on the glass, and hit his shots. All we need is some good post D from Ronny on Jefferson and some timely fouls and rotating D in the paint.