The New York Knicks are currently playing their best basketball of the season, which isn’t necessarily saying all that much when you are 12-22, however winning 3 of their past 4 games has been encouraging. At least the timing has been right, since the Miami Heat and their 27-8 record head into Madison Square Garden tonight.
The bad news in terms of timing is the illness and injury bug that is spreading around the Knicks locker room. Tyson Chandler isn’t expected to play and there is also questions about Kenyon Martin and Beno Udrih’s availability. Nobody is interested in injury excuses at this point, although it is always difficult to overcome the absence of Chandler, particularly if Martin will not be 100%.
When it comes to keeping pace with the Heat, the Knicks are obviously going to need big nights from their top scorers, Carmelo Anthony and JR “TRADE-BAIT’ Smith. It will also provide a boost if Iman Shumpert plays confidently and competently on the offensive end. Beyond that, they are going to likely need somebody else to get hot and knock down a few threes. I wouldn’t expect the Knicks to grind out a low-scoring affair, if they are going to get this upset, it is going to be in a shootout.
This has the feel of a game that the Knicks will come out with great energy, build a lead that gradually is taken away in the 3rd quarter before losing in some crushing fashion in the 4th quarter. Hopefully, that is wrong as this win could be a nice exclamation point on the team turning things around in 2014 and gearing up for a run back to .500. After tonight’s game, 8 of the Knicks next 11 games are against teams currently under .500, so the opportunity will be there.
Make sure to follow us @TurnOnTheKnicks for live commentary during the game and to check back here after for a recap.