Coming off a double overtime loss against the Orlando Magic is not the way the Knicks would like to head into the second game of this back-to-back road trip having only arrived in Atlanta to play the Hawks in the early hours of the morning.
The Knicks lackluster defense once again let them down against a young and hungry Orlando Magic team who have played well as of late. Besides losing to Orlando, New York also dropped games earlier in the month to Milwaukee and Sacramento, who are a combined 45-120. In the dreadful Eastern Conference, however, the Knicks somehow still find themselves only four and a half games back of none other than the struggling Atlanta Hawks for that eighth playoff spot.
The Hawks are on an eight-game losing skid of their own and are without Al Horford for the season and now Paul Millsap for tonight’s game. Jeff Teague may not suit up as well. No Teague would be a huge advantage for the Knicks as point guards Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni can’t seem to keep any opposing point guards in front of them. .
The key for the Knicks tonight will be to contain the outside shot by not allowing guys like Kyle Korver and to a lesser extent Lou Williams, DaMarre Carroll and Shelvin Mack who are all willing three point shooters when left open. In case you hadn’t noticed the Knicks don’t exactly do a good job of defending on the perimeter. It will be important to try and sustain some type of flow offensively as well because lately it’s been a lot of isolation and no continuity on the offensive end. Tonight’s game can’t be all on Carmelo Anthony.
Speaking of Anthony, what more can this guy do to try and keep this fast sinking ship afloat? Last night against the Magic he scored 44 points and grabbed 11 boards while playing just over 50 minutes. Expect the Knicks, including Anthony, to come out sluggish tonight after playing so many minutes yesterday. Hopefully they are up for the task at hand tonight.