New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Starting Lineups (12/27/23)

The New York Knicks (17-12) encounter the Oklahoma City Thunder (19-9) this Wednesday (12/27/23). Get Knicks vs. Thunder moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction

 

The Thunder just decimated Minnesota’s top ranked defense to the tune of 129 points, and they are set to dominate tonight.

Oklahoma City leads the league in drives per game behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams’ play. Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Immanuel Quickley will struggle to stay in front of “SGA”, and they don’t have the necessary rim protection to compensate with Mitchell Robinson out for the season. Isaiah Hartenstein cannot camp in the paint either, as Chet Holmgren (37.6 3PT%) will gladly punish the Knicks from deep.

Essentially, Oklahoma City’s offense should see constant success via drives, and their kick-out game will be strong too against a Knicks squad allowing the fourth most corner attempts per game. The Thunder are not a high-volume three-point shooting team, but they rank second in 3PT%. Their offense will place back-breaking stress on the rim and three-point line, thus causing New York’s depleted defense to crack.

Defensively, Oklahoma City has plenty of options to throw at Jalen Brunson. Lu Dort is one of the best all-around perimeter defenders in the NBA, while Gilgeous-Alexander leads the league in steal percentage per Basketball Reference. In addition, rookie Cason Wallace has displayed tremendous defensive chops, especially off-ball. Meanwhile, New York’s drive-heavy offense faces one of the best rookie shot blockers ever. Chet Holmgren ranks second in contested shots, third in block percentage, and third in rim points saved per 75 possessions via Basketball Index.

Now, that is not to say that Oklahoma City will cruise. Julius Randle and Isaiah Hartenstein can control the glass against a Thunder squad that sits 29th in opponent offensive rebound rate, which grants them extra possessions. New York is 10th in 3PT%, and Oklahoma City allows a plethora of open looks from deep. Plus, Jalen Brunson is good enough to shake elite defenders.

However, the Thunder’s offense is too dynamic at the moment, and they possess a superior defensive matchup. Taking OKC to win and cover is the best bet for this matchup.

New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction: Thunder -2 & Moneyline

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New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Best Odds

The Thunder are 2.5 point favorites in this matchup; they currently pace the NBA in cover percentage after ranking top three in each of the previous two seasons. New York needs to win this game roughly 43 percent of the time for their +130 moneyline to be profitable in the long run.

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Donte DiVincenzo
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Isaiah Hartenstein

Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup

PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: Lu Dort
SF: Josh Giddey
PF: Jalen Williams
C: Chet Holmgren

New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Injuries

Centers Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims are out for the Knicks. On the other hand, the Thunder have no player listed on their injury report.

New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Key Matchups

Immanuel Quickley vs. Cason Wallace

Outside of Quickley (14.6 PPG), New York’s bench lacks self-creation and ball handling. Therefore, his efficiency is typically an X Factor for the Knicks, and it’s definitely the case here. Oklahoma City ranks second in bench Net Rating and features one of the deepest rotations in the league. Quickley will be guarded by Cason Wallace, so it will be an uphill battle for him. If Quickley can drop 15 to 20 points and orchestrate a few assists, then New York’s bench can nullify Oklahoma City’s.

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett 3PT Shooting

The Thunder frequently over-help on drivers, which has hurt their three-point defense. As a result, Oklahoma City allows the most corner attempts per game, along with one of the largest open three-point attempt rates.

Barrett and Randle combine to take 10 three-point attempts per game, but they are only shooting a combined 32 percent from deep. If they have an off shooting night, then it will be difficult for New York to keep pace with Oklahoma City’s explosive offense.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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