Opponent: New York Knicks (1-2)
Efficiencies: Offensive: 98.3. Defensive: 109.1. Differential: -10.8.
Last season: New York wins season series 2-1. Game 1: Charlotte wins 105-95. Game 2: NY 113-89 (No Gerald, Richardson left game with injury). Game 3: NY 109-107.
Efficiencies in last season's games:
Offensive: 104.9. Defensive: 110.1. Differential: -5.2.
Good news, Bobcats fans: The Knicks are up, and they are a lot more like the Heat than the Cavaliers or Pistons. They are not a big team, or at least do not play too big. They have Zach Randolph on the front line, and pair him up with David Lee or Wilson Chandler. The rest of the lineup tends to consists of guards – some combination of Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson, and Mardy Collins. Why, yes, they do struggle to rebound the ball, how could you guess? The Knicks grab only 25.7% of available offensive rebounds and 68.8% of defensive. Which team wins this area of weakness should go a long way towards a victory tonight.
As you may have noticed from the Knicks's efficiencies above, they are struggling with their offense in the early going. With a roster not quite right for his system (Chris Duhon, seriously?), D'Antonio and his club are not quite clicking just yet. Considering that Larry Brown is dealing with similar issues in Charlotte, but on the other end of the court, it should be interesting to see what happens tonight between the opposite of a rock and the opposite of a hard place.
The last update I have seen has Felton likely out for tonight. That will be good for the team if he is less than 100%, because if he struggled to stay with Bynum and Stuckey for Detroit, Nate Robinson would be brutal. For one game, D.J. Augustin's height should not be much of an issue, as Chris Duhon shoots nothing but 3s and Robinson has to look up to D.J. Shannon Brown has the ability to stay with both defensively, and if he wants to earn time going forward, tonight will be a good test, when he fills in for Augustin.
Charlotte has a chance tonight to get back to .500; New York is thinking the same thing. It is likely to come down to who does a better job with their new coach's system – Will the Bobcats play the solid D we saw against the Heat or will New York light up the scoreboard like they did against those same Heat opening night?