The Knicks have a chance to win their fifth consecutive game along with getting revenge on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks for the loss two weeks ago.

Revenge and a fifth straight win will be on the mind of the New York Knicks (29-27) as they face off with the Dallas Mavericks (30-24) in Texas on Friday night. In their first meeting of the season, both teams tossed up enough bricks to rebuild Madison Square Garden. Neither team reached the century mark, and the Knicks scored an anemic 86 points on 36% shooting from the field. Tonight will hopefully offer more offense on both sides beyond Luka Doncic doing Luka Doncic things.

Kristaps Porzingis was underwhelming in his homecoming, now it is Julius Randle’s turn as he returns to his hometown. Randle shot particularly poorly in the previous meeting with the Mavericks, shooting 5-of-20 in his worst performance of the season. Randle will come into this one red-hot, averaging 26.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game during the team’s four-game winning streak and has scored 30-plus points in his last two games.

It should be a fun one, here is what else to look out for.

Who’s Closing?

R.J. Barrett may be viewed as the team’s unofficial closer after he put Ja Morant and the Grizzlies away last Friday, but Alec Burks has been the team’s true closer. Burks scores 34% of his points in the fourth quarter, trailing only his teammate Immanuel Quickley (39%), Lou Williams, and Jalen Brunson.

Thibodeau has caught on and Burks has played himself into a consistent role with the closing lineup whether it be at point guard or shooting guard. However, Burks is out today, the Knicks announced, due to health and safety protocols. The team will need a Burks substitute, especially if the game is close in the final period.

The top candidate should be Quickley, who does most of his scoring in the fourth anyway and has the Lou Williams vibe to him.

Pelle Pelle

Norvel Pelle impressed the Knicks enough that the injured John Henson was shown the door after his 10-day contract expired. That leaves Pelle as the only true big man backing up Nerlens Noel. 

Pelle had a nice run on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans, scoring four points, pulling down three rebounds, adding a steal and block in 13 minutes. If Noel, who missed Wednesday’s game with a sore ankle, can’t go again or is hampered, Pelle could have another opportunity to impress the coaching staff.

Other Notes

  • R.J. Barrett had a rough two-game stretch following his weekend heroics. Tonight, on national television, it would be surprising for Barrett to have a third straight poor performance. Look for Barrett to come out aggressive.
  • More Derrick Rose with the starters, please. It is much easier on the eyes and conducive to scoring points.
  • Obi Toppin had his first big moment against the Mavericks, if he is once again effective, how about leaving him out there longer?
  • Nerlens Noel is still listed day-to-day with a sore right ankle.

Tip-off is set for 9:30 p.m. in Dallas on ESPN.


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