When: 1:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Watch: Bally Sports AZ
Listen: 98.7 FM
Who doesn’t like a little basketball on a Monday afternoon? The Phoenix Suns are at the Garden, and it appears that they finally have some reinforcements in route. Both Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet will be available to play this game, which gives the Suns a fighters chance.
New Year, New Health? Payne and Shamet listed as probable for Monday. I wrote this morning about how important every player is to Suns success. https://t.co/FgxmdNED6b— Dave King (@DaveKingNBA) January 1, 2023
There’s something about the Garden. For those of you who have never been there, it isn’t some amazing arena. But the mystique, the hallowed ground, the eyes upon you; it’s special.
It must be tough to be a member of the Knicks, for you know that the opposition is always coming in wanting to make an impact in the Mecca of basketball.
The Knicks are a streaky team. They won eight in a row, then proceeded to lose the next five. New York defeated the Houston Rockets on Saturday to get above .500, posting a 19-18 record thus far this season.
- Cameron Payne (foot) is PROBABLE
- Landry Shamet (Achilles) is PROBABLE
- Devin Booker (groin soreness) is OUT
- Cameron Johnson (knee) is OUT
- Jae Crowder (doing the same thing ‘23 as he did in ‘22) is NOT WITH TEAM
- Jalen Brunson (hip) is QUESTIONABLE
- Obi Toppin (knee) is OUT
- RJ Barrett (finger) is OUT
What to Watch For
The Knicks will be without RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin, and Jalen Brunson is questionable. They are a team that lives in the paint as they’ve attempted the most shot attempts between five and nine feet in the NBA.
Between Jalen Brunson — known for touching the paint — and Julius Randle, this is a team that attacks your interior. The put pressure on the paint and the referees to officiate it.
We know that goes for the Suns, right?
Phoenix allows the 2nd most free throw attempts per game (25.9) while attempting the 3rd lowest (21). The Knicks? The Knicks attempt the 5th most free throws. Expect to be frustrated with officiating as the Knicks force the issue on one end while the Suns don’t on the other.
The Suns have won 9 consecutive games against the New York Knicks, last losing to them on January 26, 2018. The Knicks were led by Enes Kanter in points (20) and rebounds (10) in that game, while the Suns were led by T.J. Warren (20) and Greg Monroe (10).
Keys to a Suns Win
The potential return of Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet is a welcomed sight for the Suns. They’ve had a rough go of it, scoring just 110.3 points last week, 28th in the league. This out of character for the team that has the 3rd best offensive rating in the league.
Adding some firepower is needed, but like football, it comes down to the trenches when you play the Knicks. They are a physical team, and with Julius Randall and Mitchell Robinson on the interior, they will be a tough matchup for Deandre Ayton and Torrey Craig.
The goal for Phoenix is to avoid foul trouble. We want aggressive Ayton. It’ll be a fine line for him to walk between aggressive and careless on the defensive end. Ayton averages 3.0 fouls when playing against Robinson, as well as 14.3 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
How Monty navigates is interior rotation, attempting to negate the interior pressure, ultimately will determine the outcome.
Whenever I start riding DA, he shows out and shuts me up. It’s the Garden. It’s NYC. Ayton will go for 30+ points and lead the Suns to victory. And everyone will pull up my thoughts and drag me through the mud for suggesting that Deandre is incapable of achieving such heights.
Go on DA. Get 30 points. Do it for the 8th time in 269 career games.
Suns 116, Knicks 110
When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube: