Current Standings - New York: 37-22, 3rd in the Eastern Conference (.5 games behind the Indiana Pacers), 1st in the Atlantic Division (Leading the Brooklyn Nets by 2.5 games) Utah: 32-30, 8th in the Western Conference (.5 games ahead of Los Angeles Lakers)
Previous Meeting - These teams haven’t met yet this season. They will meet again on March 18th.
What To Watch For - The big question of the night will be if Carmelo Anthony suits up. His knee issue is lingering and he remains listed as “questionable.” It wouldn’t be surprising if Anthony is rested until the Knicks West Coast trip kicks off on Monday Night. If he doesn’t play, it will be up to JR Smith, Amare Stoudemire and Ray Felton to carry the scoring load. The Knicks can’t afford to let this one slip away, as they need to handle business at home before their road trip.
Injury Update – Utah – No current injuries. New York - Carmelo Anthony (SF) is listed Day-to-Day (Knee) Rasheed Wallace (PF) is out (Fractured Left Fifth Metatarsal)
Key Matchup - Utah has terrific depth at forward with Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams. It will be up to Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire and likely Kenyon Martin to help slow down the Jazz up front and control the boards. Utah can dominate around the basket so the Knicks have to play more physical than they did Thursday night.
Knicks Win If – They find a more balanced scoring approach without Carmelo Anthony. There needs to be more than JR Smith dribbling the shot clock out and taking an off-balance jumper. Amare must get going around the basket and players like Steve Novak and Iman Shumpert need to start knocking down open shots to lighten the load on Smith.
Jazz Win If – The Knicks struggle around the basket, leading to a huge night for Jefferson and Millsap. Offensively, the Knicks become one-dimensional and can’t get their three-pointers to drop. This would be a bad loss heading into their road trip.