The New York Knicks (8-18) are set to take on the Orlando Magic (8-19) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
In the previous game vs. the Magic on December 6th at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks had one of their best outings of the season with a 121-83 drubbing. However, the game figures to be different this time around. In the teams’ last meeting, the Knicks were without Tyson Chandler, but equally the Magic were without big man Nikola Vucevic who has evolved into a double-double monster over the past year. The Knicks also might get a bit of a boost back to the starting lineup as Raymond Felton has officially been announced as a game time decision.
The Knicks were badly outrebounded by the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon (56-29) and, lets face facts, rebounding is more about effort than anything else. The Knicks simply couldn’t keep Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, James Johnson or Kosta Koufos off the glass. The Grizzles out hustled and over powered the Knicks to seemingly every loose ball. The Knicks could have their hands full with Glen Davis and the aforementioned Vucevic who are great at grabbing boards.
The Knicks are going to have to rely on Chandler and Carmelo Anthony to bring down their fair share of rebounds in tonight’s matchup, to say the least. The problem is that big men are supposed to be your rebounders, but Amare Stoudmire and Andrea Bargnani seem unwilling to hustle to track down the rebounds at times, especially when their shots aren’t falling. In the game Saturday afternoon they combined for 4 rebounds on the day,, while Tony Allen (Grizzlies shooting guard) had 8. That’s just sad.
The Knicks will also need to shoot better, the 41.8% wasn’t that horrible on Saturday, but far too many times the Knicks settled for difficult jump shots. When those shots aren’t falling the Knicks have to go into ‘attack the basket mode’ but the only one who seems to understand that concept is Carmelo Anthony. J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. all need to be better with shot selection, especially Shump who is in a major shooting slump and should look to get some easy ones to go just to gain some confidence.
Tonight’s game should be a good one given the fact that the Knicks have to start stringing together wins at some point, but the Magic are a young hungry team that won’t quit on any given night. Expect Arron Afflalo and Carmelo Anthony to lead their teams in scoring, keep an eye out for Magic guard Victor Oladipo who brings a ton of energy on the court the Knicks will have to contain him. Also can one of the Knicks shooting guards give Carmelo Anthony the help he needs to close out games? Should be interesting to watch.
On a side note to Mike Woodson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Toure Murry need more playing time… put ‘em in coach!