TOK Game Preview: New York Knicks vs. Detroit Pistons

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Current Standings - New York: 36-21, 3rd in the Eastern Conference (7.5 behind the Miami Heat), 1st in the Atlantic Division (Leading the Brooklyn Nets by 3.5 games) Detroit: 23-39, 11th in the Eastern Conference (23.0 games behind the Miami Heat), 4th in the Central Division (16.0 games behind the Indiana Pacers, 9.0 games behind the current 8th seed, Milwaukee Bucks)

Previous Meeting - The Knicks defeated the Pistons 99-85 at Madison Square Garden on February 4, 2013.

What To Watch For - Carmelo Anthony will not play tonight. With him sitting out pay attention to how the rest of the team functions on the offensive end without their leading scorer. They made a 22-point comeback Monday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers; hopefully they do not face a similar deficit but hopefully their offense will click similarly to how it did in the second half of that game.

Injury Update – Detroit – Greg Monroe (C) is currently listed Day-to-Day New York -  Carmelo Anthony (SF) is listed Day-to-Day (Knee) Rasheed Wallace (PF) is out (Fractured Left Fifth Metatarsal) Marcus Camby (C) is out (Plantar Fascia).

Key Matchup - Tyson Chandler vs. Greg Monroe. Monroe is the Pistons leading scorer (16.0 ppg) and rebounder (8.0 rpg) He will be the Pistons go-to option to start the game which is problematic for the Knicks because Chandler has a knack for getting into foul trouble early. If he does the Pistons will be able to exploit his absence with high-percentage opportunities in the paint. Chandler’s absence will also limit the Knicks’ offensive rebounding. They will need second-chance opportunities if Anthony does not play.

Knicks Win If – If Anthony plays, the Knicks will be successful doing their usual thing and letting him operate. The Knicks are the better team so as long as they stick to what works they should be fine. If Anthony does not play, the Knicks will win if other players can step up on the offensive end. J.R. Smith had a poor shooting performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night going 6-17 from the field and 1-7 from three. He cannot have a similar performance if the Knicks are to pull out a W.

Pistons Win If – They feed the ball to Monroe early and let him go to work. If Chandler gets in foul trouble early and is forced to sit on the bench the Pistons offense will have a lot more breathing room. As long as they keep the score close there is always a chance Chandler fouls out and will miss critical minutes down the stretch.

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