Who: New York Knicks vs Charlotte Bobcats
What: NBA Basketball – Knicks Home Game
When: 7:30 PM ET
Where: Live at Madison Square Garden
|New York||44-26||107.7 (3)||103.0 (15)||92.3 (26)|
|Charlotte||17-54||98.0 (28)||109.1 (30)||94.2 (16)|
New York: Tyson Chandler (day-to-day), Pablo Prigioni (day-to-day), Amar’e Stoudemire (OUT)
Charlotte: Ramon Sessions (OUT)
|PG||Raymond Felton||Kemba Walker|
|SG||Pablo Prigioni||Gerald Henderson|
|SF||Iman Shumpert||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|PF||Carmelo Anthony||Josh McRoberts|
|C||Tyson Chandler||Bismack Biyombo|
|6th Man||J.R. Smith||Ben Gordon|
1- STATS: In the Knicks past 5 games they’ve been on a tear offensively. NYK are averaging 104.6 PPG, making 10.6 3FG/game & shooting the ball at a 50.3% mark. How can the Cats’ slow this potent offensive attack down tonight?
Spencer: It’ll be interesting to see if Chandler plays tonight. If he doesn’t, the Bobcats can compete on the glass and not have to be so on alert with PnR’s involving Tyson. Other than that, you have to know where shooters are with the Knicks. Smith, Novak, Felton & Shumpert (just to name a few) can make you pay in a hurry. Considering the style that Dunlap likes to implement defensively, over-helping, has to be reeled in a bit tonight. Just cannot afford to leave shooters with the Knicks. Chase these guys off the 3-point line and force the ball to the rim where they’ll have to finish contested attempts there.
Jim Cavan (Knickerblogger): When the Knicks are rotating the ball like they have – recapturing some of the November magic many of us had given up for dead – having your defense on a taut string is of the utmost. The ‘Cats are quick enough to executive quick rotations capable of making life difficult for New York’s shooters. The question is whether the communication and correct rotations will be there when they need to be. Goading Felton into 22-footers from the top of the key isn’t a bad strategy, either.
Mathew: Well, I’d say limit the 3-point attempts but that request is a little stale at this point. I’m going to focus on a specific Bobcat – MKG. He’ll get the task of checking Carmelo Anthony for the majority of the game tonight. If he can hold his own when Melo takes him down into the post, in turn not requiring a double from one of his teammates, it will allow the Bobcats to defend passes out of the post and the 3-point line more effectively.
2- WHAT’S HENDO WORTH? Charlotte is highly likely to extend Henderson his qualifying offer that’s worth approximately $4.3 million by June 30th. This means the only way he’ll leave the Queen City is if another teams decides they’ll swoop in and offer something better than that, with the Cats’ unable to match. Give us some $ numbers to ponder on his worth.
Spencer: It’s obvious that Henderson isn’t that vital a piece of Charlotte’s future due to the fact that they desperately tried to trade him for a 1st round pick at the trade deadline. Hendo’s performance as of late is likely due to motivation drawn from the attempt to deal him. Now Cho & Higgins are in a tough spot as teams around the league are taking notice of Hendo’s stellar play. All this being said, I don’t think Charlotte goes any higher than $8mil/year to retain him, and maybe not even that high.
Jim: Henderson is definitely kind of player who could blossom under the right system and circumstances – most of his numbers have continued to improve, and he’s started to assert himself as a legit three point threat. Taking a cursory look over the league, I think Chicago might be a realistic destination for Henderson; assuming the Bulls don’t exercise their $5 million option on Richard Hamilton, they could offer Henderson enough to make the Bobcats balk.
Mathew: Good question. Henderson has been playing very well recently, asserting himself on the offensive end more than at any point in his career. His 3-point shooting has improved drastically this year as well (.368 versus .234 last season) – perfect timing given his impending free agency and the ever increasing importance being placed on the 3-point shot. The Bobcats will certainly make him a qualifying offer. However, if they want to retain him I believe they are going to have to match another team’s offer sheet. From the Bobcats perspective, what would I be willing to pay him? Probably the Mid-Level Exception over three years (around $5 million per season). What do I think he gets offered? Maybe the MLE over four years. I foresee the Bobcats declining to match the offer and deciding to move on to possibly Ben McLemore (who would be a very good fit next to MKG since he can stretch the floor) or possibly crossing their fingers for Andrew Wiggins in 2014.
3- PICK IT: Charlotte has been competitive lately, but the Knicks have seemed to find their form in the past 5 games. Who you got tonight?
Spencer: Knicks. The way they’ve played in the past 5 is reminding us all of the team that we saw at the beginning of the season. 105-95 Knicks.
Jim: It’s Friday, meaning the pall of Robert Randolph looms large. But I’m taking the Knicks. K-Mart has been a roll-playing revelation, J.R. Smith is on arguably the best tear of his career, and Woodson is finally starting to piece together something resembling rotational consistency, highlighted lineups featuring a pair of points. It won’t be a blowout – the Bobcats always seem to get up for games in the Garden – but I think the ‘Bockers win comfortably. Knicks 108, Bobcats 96.
Mathew: Knicks. Give the Bobcats credit, they’ve been playing better and have even racked up a few victories while they’ve been at it. But the Knicks are playing well and are a better team. And oh yeah, it’s in MSG. Let’s hope for a competitive game though.