The New York Knicks and their 9-18 record (1 game winning streak!) host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas Day in a national television showcase. Will this be a showcase for their laughingstock of a season or will they show a little heart and give the Thunder a game? I wouldn’t bet your stocking stuffers on the latter but who knows, that’s why they suit up, right?
Today’s reports have Carmelo Anthony as a game time decision with his ankle injury sustained the other night. Most are assuming Anthony will give it a go but it is hard to see him at anywhere near 100% so soon after hurting himself. Ray Felton is going to be out, pushing Beno Udrih in the starting line-up and maybe giving Toure Murry some minutes (how about letting him take a run at covering Russell Westrbook?)
One encouraging trend we’ve seen from the Knicks in recent games is JR Smith taking some baby steps in the right direction. Without question, they’ll need him to have a big game to stay competitive and also need an engaged, focused Iman Shumpert. Tyson Chandler in the middle will help defensively but the Thunder are going to score their share of points regardless and with Anthony at less than 100%, Smith and Shumpert need to step up.
After Wednesday’s game, the Knicks have a back to back with the Toronto Raptors who are slowly dismantling their roster (and still looking to push Kyle Lowry on the Knicks). An upset win on Christmas could propel the Knicks into two very winnnable games and amazingly put them at the top of the putrid Atlantic Division. Currently the Raptors are in first place but only have a 2.5 game on the Knicks, which is borderline mind-boggling.
Our only request from Mike Woodson for Christmas is to play small-ball. SMALL-BALL Mike, embrace it!