Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
DALLAS - Marcus Morris says he's going to spend some time guarding Kristaps Porzingis on Friday night.
He's six inches shorter than the Mavs forward, but he plans to use his strength as an advantage.
"Just try to be physical with him. That's my biggest thing is try to get up under him, be physical," Morris said. "He's seven-foot, shoots the three, posts up, puts it on the ground. I'm definitely going to get his attempts up. But for me (I'll) stand under him, stand next to him, push him, lean on him a little bit."
When Porzingis (7-3, 240 pounds) was in New York, teams tried to use a physical approach to try and slow him down. Notably, Boston used guard Marcus Smart on Porzingis at times when he was a Knick.
"You've got to get under him," Morris (6-9, 235 pounds) said. "….He can shoot the ball, he's tall. He put on some weight. We'll see. We're really worried about (Luka) Doncic. Doncic has been playing really well. We've got to get up on him because he controls their game. He's really the engine for them."
On Porzingis, Morris added: "He's tall, he's crafty. He's not really that physical, so we try to return the favor and use something against him. That's just my approach. I've seen it work in the past."
In his return from ACL surgery, Porzingis is averaging 19 points per game on 41 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds. He said on Thursday he's working to regain his rhythm in a new offense and after such a long layoff.
With regards to Doncic, David Fizdale said Frank Ntilikina will defend the Mavs' star at times on Friday.
Ntilikina is the Knicks' best perimeter defender. He's started at point guard in the last three games with Elfrid Payton out due to a hamstring injury.
Here's Fizdale on Ntilikina's play during this recent stretch:
"Just a free mind a very clear head. A guy who knows his game now and is really trying to figure things out," Fizdale said on Friday. "Defensively we knew he was always a guy who can get after it. But now offensively he's starting to see where it comes."
We know Morris is starting at small forward but we don't know the rest of the lineup yet. Fizdale will probably announce around two hours before tipoff. The Knicks need to figure out who to replace at center with Mitchell Robinson out due to a concussion.
Fizdale mentioned Julius Randle as a possibility at center but noted on Friday that he's got multiple other options there in Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis.
No matter who the Knicks start with on Friday night, they're desperate for a win. New York (1-7) has lost two straight games by at least 20 points. Morris on Friday said the team has a healthy mindset despite the early-season struggles.
"What have we got, 74 games left? That's unheard of, to drop your head right now," Morris said. "It's not good for the team, not for the culture. But obviously there's an urgency to win here in New York. I understand that, but there's 10 new guys. It's going to take some time. Once we get going I think it's going to be really good for us. We can't dwell on these losses because there are games constantly, constantly, so we've got to move on."