The Knicks went 1-3 against Orlando last season. They come into today’s game on a two game losing streak and potentially without superstar Carmelo Anthony.
Here’s what to watch for:
- How will the Knicks defend Dwight Howard? This will be interesting because this is the first Chandler versus Howard matchup. Last season, the Knicks mostly guarded Howard with the sterling post defensive presences of Shawne Williams and Ronny Turiaf, both of whom are no longer on the team. Howard averaged 29 points and 15.8 rebounds per game over the four games he faced the Knicks. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks defend Howard. Will they hack-a-Dwight like Mark Jackson and Golden State did last week? Or will they take the Atlanta Hawks approach and guard Howard one on one and lock down the perimeter? I think the smart thing to do would be to guard Howard one on one and lock down the perimeter, especially if Melo is not playing. If Orlando gets hot from 3, it will be a long night for the Knicks.
- Will Glen Davis bring out the best in Amar’e? Glen Davis always talks shit about Amar’e… and Amar’e then shits on him. See evidence here and here. Knick fans, including myself, have been frustrated with Stoudemire’s struggles this season because we know him to be the dominant force he was last season. Could Glen Davis turn the Knicks tide? If Amar’e can go for an efficient 30 and 10 on “the big baby” then maybe he can get on a roll. I would love to see the Knick superstar get back on track today against fat baby Davis.
- How will Amar’e be used in the offense? During the game, I will be noting, and then posting here afterwards, where Amar’e gets the ball offensively and the results. I noted in last night’s notes from the OKC game that often times Stoudemire got the ball outside the arc and then was left on isolations thus resulting in wasted possessions. It will be interesting to see if Stoudemire will try to get inside knowing that Dwight Howard will be waiting for him there.
- If Melo is out, does Walker have to start again? I’d much rather see Fields. At least Fields will defend. Walker does nothing. The Knicks need to bounce back defensively after the last two porous games. If Walker is playing significant minutes, I think the defensive prowess of the team suffers. When Walker does not shoot, like Saturday night when he was 1/6, he is pretty much useless. I’d rather see Fields inserted back into the lineup and given a vote of confidence to see if he can get back on track.