By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Clippers | Cox Pavilion
When: Friday | 4:00 PM EST
Where to Watch: MSG
New York: The Knicks' performance against the Heat on Wednesday was...not their best. Without the services of Iman Shumpert (gone to China) or Tim Hardaway Jr. (who is still out with a wrist injury), they had trouble combatting Miami's pressure defense and frenetic style. As C.J. Leslie suggested after the game, it's been a grueling week of basketball and fatigue may be affecting the team. With one game left, there remains an interesting battle among some of the bigs for training camp invites: Jerome Jordan, Jeremy Tyler and Eloy Vargas.
Clippers: Los Angeles' new powerhouse team, the Clippers, is banking on its regular season being much more successful than its summer league season. They've gone 1-3 here in Vegas, although there have been some individual bright spots. Like the Knicks, their roster is mostly set; aside from first round pick Reggie Bullock (taken 25th overall, one pick after the Knicks took Hardaway), only a few guys have a chance to get invited to training camp.
The Numbers Game
Despite the lopsided final score, Tyler impressed against Miami, scoring 18 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) and pulling down eight rebounds.
Matchup to Watch
Toure Murry vs. Jerome Randle
Neither was considered a lock to make their respective rosters, but both have impressed here in Vegas. Randle has always had skeptics because of his size, measuring under six feet tall, and Murry has worked his way through the D-League to get where they are now. Both still have work to do -- Randle is probably fighting Maalik Wayns for a spot, and Murry needs to convince his coaches that he can run the point -- but it seems like the more they play, the more they show they belong.
What to Look For
The way the Knicks respond to such a poor showing will be worth watching. Development and evaluation take priority over winning games in Vegas, but it also is not anyone's intention to get blown out. Murry will be tasked with running the show, Leslie will need to fight through his tired legs and defend Bullock, and the bigs will be battling to prove they deserve training camp invites. Bullock is a dead-eye shooter, so the Knicks must be focused on defending the perimeter.