While wing defense on Randle and the streaking R.J. Barrett is important, this game will be won and lost based on how big of a cushion the starters can give the bench, and how the bench can hold up. The Knicks are outscored by 5.1 points per 100 possessions with R.J. Barrett on the floor, yet when Immanuel Quickley comes into the game they outscore opponents by 7.7 points per 100 possessions. J-Mac’s absence continues to give Jaylen Nowell runway to build on his play as the de-facto point guard off the bench.
I am more nervous about tonight’s game than I should be, and would be especially nervous about actually placing any money the Timberwolves laying three points on the road. The total for the game is set at 214.5, and I think that might be a little high.