TOK Game Preview – New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic

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Current Standings – New York: 39-26, 3rd in the Eastern Conference (12.5 games behind the Miami Heat, 1.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers), 1st in the Atlantic Division (Leading the Brooklyn Nets by one game). Orlando: 18-50, (35 games behind the Miami Heat), 4th in the Southeast Division (35 games behind the Miami Heat).

Previous Meeting - The New York Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic on January 30th, 2013, 113-97, at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are 3-0 against the Magic this season.

Injury Update – New York: Rasheed Wallace (out, foot), Amare Stoudemire (out, knee), Carmelo Anthony (probable, knee) Tyson Chandler (questionable, knee/neck), Jason Kidd (questionable, wrist) Kurt Thomas (out, foot) Orlando: Glen Davis (out, foot), Hedo Turkoglu (out, suspension), Andrew Nicholson (questionable, illness).

What To Watch For – The Knicks are looking to complete their first season sweep of the Magic in 15 years, but question of whether or not Carmelo Anthony will be back in the lineup for the Knicks will linger until an annoucment is made. Carmelo is listed as “probable” for tonight’s tilt, so signs are starting to point in the right direction. It’s clear Carmelo will alter the way the game will be played dramatcically for both teams, so that remains for most important aspect to watch for as the game approaches.

Key Matchup – The Magic are now 8-25 on the road this season, while ranking 23rd in the league in total defense giving up 100.9 points per game, so it’s vital the Knicks can get off to a hot start. The Magic are also 3-16 on the road against the East, and only 1-7 against the Atlantic Division on the road, key facts that are highlighted that shift in the Knicks favor.

They can close this game out early, something they desperately need for their confidence going forward. It’s going to be interesting to see the matchup between Aaron Afflalo and Carmelo if he’s able to take the court due to his knee, because of his defensive prowess and tenacity, coupled with his ability to frustrate an opposing player. If Carmelo can get the best of that matchup, and the Knicks can find some bench play to spark the team in this mist of all their injuries, and Knicks should come out of this game with nothing less then a win. If Carmelo is unable to go, look for an intriguing young matchup between Afflalo and Iman Shumpert.

It’s also going to be important to see whether or not point guard Raymond Felton can stay in front of the Magic’s most talented player, Jameer Nelson, who can catch fire on any given night.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TurnOnTheKnicks and follow along during tonight’s game.

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