As the second half of the season is set to begin for the New York Knicks they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Currently sitting at 19-18 and holding on to the fifth seed in the eastern conference. The New York Knicks have an incredibly good chance to make the playoffs this season. However, the second half of the season includes a much more difficult schedule. Furthermore if the Knickerbockers hope to make the playoffs they will need to start the second half of the season strong. Beginning with a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. Following that with a battle against the OKC Thunder to wrap up the week.
Firstly is the always competitive Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are currently 22-14 which is good enough for the third seed in the eastern conference. The last time these two teams faced off it was at the start of the season. In which the New York Knicks claimed a 130-110 victory. Julius Randle led the Knicks with a team high 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists. The Greek freak Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 27 points and 13 rebounds. The overall all-time head-to-head record for both teams has the Bucks leading the Knicks 115 to 103.
Next up is the OKC Thunder. The Thunder are currently 15-21 which has them seeded at the twelfth spot in the western conference. The New York Knicks and Thunder last faced off on January 8th with the Thunder claiming the victory. The final score was 101 to 89. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 25 points 10 rebounds and 7 assists. While RJ Barrett led the blue and orange with 19 points and 7 rebounds. The overall all-time head-to-head record for both teams has the Thunder leading the Knicks 68-66.
My prediction for the Knickerbockers and Bucks matchup has the Bucks coming away with a victory. While the New York Knicks are always ready to compete I believe this will be a tough matchup for them. I guarantee you the Bucks have circled this matchup on their schedule. The Bucks will have retribution on their minds. Giannis looked absolutely lost in the last matchup. The Knicks packed the paint and did not allow the Bucks to beat them up in transition. This time around Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton may be a bit too much for the Knicks to handle.
My prediction for the Knicks and Thunder matchup has the Knicks coming away with the victory. The Knicks will be looking for revenge after their last matchup. Julius Randle and company will come out the gates strong. The biggest difference between this years club and previous teams is the coach. Coach Tom Thibodeau always has the Knicks well prepared. This time around coach will make the necessary defensive and offensive adjustments to beat the Thunder.