The Knicks have struggled this season against the lowly 3-14 Charlotte Bobcats. The Knicks and Bobcats have split their two prior meetings this season and have two match ups this season, including tonights game.
Here’s what to watch for:
- Can somebody please guard Boris Diaw? The large Bobcats forward is averaging 7.4 points per game this season. Against the Knicks he is averaging 23 ppg in 2 games. Both of his season high point totals, 27 in the first matchup and 19 in the second, have come against Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks. However, New York forward Jared Jeffries did not play in either of the two match ups with Charlotte due to a calf injury. Jeffries is a strong defender and may be able to slow down Diaw. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Jorts Harrellson is out 6 weeks with a broken wrist so his strong defensive services will not be called on to body up Diaw tonight. Ultimately, stopping Diaw will come down to the effort and will of Amar’e Stoudemire. If Stoudemire struggles (again) on Diaw, the Bobcats will once again compete against this reeling Knick team.
- Speaking of reeling, will Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire figure this thing out? The two stars had a sit down talk yesterday about their struggles as of late. Stoudemire has looked butthurt and uninterested all year while Anthony decides to play 1 on 5, especially late in games. The individual games of the two stars did not mesh last season after the trade and this season has been a complete disaster. If there was ever an opponent to figure it out against, the Bobcats would be it. They suck. Point blank, they just are a sad team. I am interested to see how Anthony and Stoudemire play following their discussion but I am not expecting all that much.
- Is Chandler going to play 47 minutes tonight? With Harrellson out, the Knicks are once again thin on the front line. Mike D’Antoni is not expected to give Jerome Jordan any additional minutes which means that Jared Jeffries, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire will be splitting the minutes at center. Jeffries and Stoudemire, better thought of as forwards, are clear downgrades at center from Chandler. Especially in a close game tonight, Chandler may be playing 40+ minutes at center. D’Antoni has already played Chandler an average of 33 minutes per game, up 6 minutes from his 27 mpg average last season. I am not in support of the Knick center playing these kind of minutes. D’Antoni is playing a dangerous game with Chandler in that if he were to go down the Bockers would truly be screwed in the front court. Harrellson’s absence has left the Knicks insanely thin again and losing Chandler would be disaster.