By Kristian Cuaresma
The latest chapter in the Battle of New York will take place tonight at 9:00 p.m. EST between NetsGC and Knicks Gaming. This will be another attempt by Knicks Gaming to find the spark that ultimately leads to igniting a potential rivalry. Up to this point, NetsGC has dominated this head-to-head matchup each season and hopes to continue finding success, especially as the team takes yet another shot at moving past the .500 mark.
Knicks Gaming has had a season similar to NetsGC with frequent highs and lows including finishing with a 1-3 record in THE TIPOFF tournament, losing to Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai and Heat Check Gaming. Outside of its final game of the tournament – a blowout loss against Miami – New York averaged a 4-point differential, highlighting how close its contests were.
Last week, Knicks Gaming ran into the unstoppable buzzsaw that is rookie phenom 630, dropping both games against Pacers Gaming (currently 6-0 and first in the Western Conference). In week two, New York reverted back to its ‘Cardiac Kids’ shtick but this time found itself on the winning side of a close game, sweeping Celtics Crossover by scores of 65-62 and 62-59.
Knicks Gaming Expected Lineup
Players to Watch
Duck – 20.0 points, 10.5 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 61% FG, 50% 3P
As a member of the star-studded season three draft class which featured numerous dynamic point guards, Duck – selected No. 2 overall – enters his sophomore year looking to build on previous success. With dreams of bringing Knicks Gaming back to its former glory, Duck’s next objective is getting his squad back into the playoffs. Earlier this week, he iced game two against Celtics Crossover Gaming with an unconscious three from beyond the arc in the game’s dying moments.
OriginalMalik – 21.5 points, 3.5 assists, 0.3 turnovers, 47% FG, 43% 3P
This year’s league build caters to two guards who can create for themselves and put the ball in the basket. However, the Knicks Gaming backcourt has been playing like this for quite some time now. OriginalMalik is as talented as a scorer at the two spot as they come, and this year hasn’t been any different. Like his teammate, Duck, OriginalMalik is not afraid of the big moment, hitting a game winning shot of his own against Celtics Crossover Gaming.
Bridge to Victory?
NetsGC’s double lock experiment provided mix results against 76ers GC, and it will be interesting to see if the team goes back to the well against Knicks Gaming. New York’s playstyle substantially differs from Philadelphia’s mentality and two locks may come in handy against the dynamic duo of Duck and OriginalMalik. However, it would not be surprising to see NetsGC go back to its bread and butter and try to outscore Knicks Gaming. Fighting fire with fire may give NetsGC its best chance to get its first sweep of the season and could better take advantage of Faiz’s own natural scoring abilities.
While both teams would likely prefer to avoid a close contest, Knicks Gaming has had more experience playing in tight games this year and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for NetsGC to get off to a quick start, especially if the team sticks with the double lock strategy.