It’s game 10 of the Mike Woodson era. The Knicks are 8-1 since the departure of one Mike D’Antoni. Tonight, they will be without the services of Jeremy Lin. Carmelo Anthony will play and is coming off one of his best games of the season. New York obliterated Atlanta 99-82 (and it wasn’t that close) in their first matchup. However, that win came under the watch of D’Antoni and it will be interested to see what the Knicks do tonight under Woodson. If recent history is any indication, the Knicks will probably be pretty good tonight.
Here’s what to watch for:
- Will Carmelo be Carmelo again tonight? For the first time in a long time, Carmelo Anthony showed up in Wednesday’s victory over the Magic. He looked energized and motivated and he was dominant. That is the Melo the Knicks traded for. He’s been awful all season, shooting just 39%, but Anthony still has time to make this season successful. New York has enough time left to catch Philly for the Atlantic division championship. They need Anthony to step up in these last 15 games in order to do that. Without Stoudemire in the lineup, Anthony has more room to operate and will get more touches in the offense. He looked very dominant in the post against Orlando and I expect the Knicks to post him up a lot tonight.
- Baron Davis must play well again. With Lin out, the Knicks offense is in the hands of Baron Davis. Sure, Carmelo will take a lot of the shots, but somebody has to get him the ball. Against Orlando, who apparently was partying till 3 AM before the game, Davis had his best game as a Knick. Tonight, Hawks point guard Jeff Teague will give significantly more effort than what the Magic pretended to do on Wednesday. Teague is young and athletic as opposed to Jammer Nelson who is the polar opposite. Davis will have his hands full. That doesn’t mean he’ll play poorly, but he’s going to have to step up tonight.
- The Knicks defense, specifically Tyson Chandler, should dominate tonight. With Melo on Josh Smith and the Hawks having no inside presence, the Knick defense should be very good tonight. I’ve never been as high on Smith as others seem to be. I think Melo can check him tonight and I think he’ll do so. Chandler is miles better than Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins. Ivan Johnson can do some things if you don’t guard him, but overall, the Hawks front court depth sucks. Odds are that Joe Johnson will be in full chuck mode. Shumpert, Fields and the booty hunter should be fine guarding him tonight. Teague could burn Davis/Bibby, but the Knicks can survive that if they defend the other players well.
- I really feel pretty good about tonights game. Usually I always have this underlying worry about the Knicks when they play teams they should beat. I don’t have that today. I feel pretty confident the Knicks are going to win tonight. I hope I’m not wrong.
- I bought 5 lottery tickets tonight. If I win the $500 million jackpot, there’s a good chance you’ll never hear from me again. I may permanently move to the Bahamas. Although, if I were to win $500 million, I would make a run at buying the Knicks. That would be pretty sweet…
- Also, Steve Novak is a beast. That is all.