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Game 66 Preview: Bobcats vs Knicks. Last Call

The 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats have certainly been a team that will forever be remembered by their own fan base, but tonight is a chance for this team to avoid being remembered by basketball fans everywhere as the worst to ever take an NBA floor.

“Nobody in here is used to losing like we have lost this year,” commented Gerald Henderson after the Bobcats loss in Orlando last night.

“It’s a learning process and hopefully we will come out with a win tomorrow,” added Hendo.

Charlotte certainly showed signs of life last night against the Magic and actually outscored Orlando in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, before fading late in the final period. The ball was moving on the offensive end of the floor, Bobcats players were reacting and rotating defensively like they haven’t all season and the overall high energy of the team was definitely noticeable by anyone who watches this team on a nightly basis. Question is, will Charlotte be able to bring that same energy tonight? You would certainly like to believe so. Yesterday, the Larry Brown/Michael Jordan media fiasco is what put the Charlotte franchise in the news and as suggested by some, the team seemed to respond to all of the criticism. Who knows if that’s really what inspired Charlotte’s effort last night, but you would think that it certainly didn’t hurt the temperament of the Bobcats.

On a bad note for Charlotte, Derrick Brown seemed to have badly sprained his left ankle, at the very least, and will be out tonight.

Tonight, New York comes to the Queen City with slight playoff implications on the line. The Knicks currently are 7th in the east, but with a loss tonight and a Philadelphia win in Detroit, the Knicks would fall into the 8th seed and play Chicago in the first round. Reports out of New York after the Knicks win against the Clippers last night suggest that they’re not too concerned with their playoff seeding and don’t mind whether they end up playing Miami or Chicago. Carmelo Anthony said last night that he probably won’t play tonight in Charlotte and as for the rest of the Knicks key players, I think Tyson Chandler gave away New York’s strategy tonight.

“You want to go into the playoffs healthy,” said Chandler after the Knicks defeated the Clippers.

So, there’s a few notes for what to look forward to tonight in what could be a historical game in the ‘Cable Box’ for all the wrong reasons. Mathew Lewis, Jenn Kimbal and I play 3-on-3 to give you some different views on tonight and what it could mean.

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network1- Knicks need a win tonight to lock up the number 7 seed in eastern conference. How much will Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire & Tyson Chandler play tonight for New York since they don’t seem to be too concerned as to who they play in the first round of the playoffs (Miami or Chicago)?

Spencer: According to Melo, he’s not going to play at all. I’d be surprised if Stoudemire sees the floor considering he’s just coming back from injury and Chandler may play the 1st quarter, but no more than that. Personally, I think the Knicks matchup better with Miami because of the fact that Heat don’t rotate nearly as well as Chicago on the defensive end and with the way New York spaces the floor, you have to. That being said, I’d be making sure I won tonight if I were Mike Woodson.

Jenn: Woodson has turned things around for the Knicks since taking over for D’antoni in March, but if Woodson wants to stay with the Knicks long term, he needs a solid playoff performance from his squad.  The Knicks might actually fare better in the playoffs against the injury-laden, top seed Bulls.  That said, I don’t expect to see significant playing time from Anthony, Stoudemire and Chandler.

Mathew: I think Coach Woodson will cut their minutes, though he probably hopes it takes care of itself in the way of the Knicks holding a comfortable lead by halftime. The Knicks are still trying to integrate Amare back into the lineup though, which may be reason to play the starters more minutes than otherwise thought.

2- Derrick Brown came down on his left ankle in last night’s game in Orlando and I can’t imagine he’s playing tonight, but no report to his status is official yet. Who gives Charlotte the best chance to start in his place? D.J. White, Jamario Moon or Tyrus Thomas.

Spencer: Moon. Tyrus and White have absolutely no chance at playing SF. Silas experimented with Tyrus at 3 earlier in the season and needless to say it was a disaster. Wouldn’t be surprised if Silas starts Tyrus there after his performance last night, but I’d think that the coaches understand that Moon is their best option for a player that best suits the SF position.

Jenn: D.J. White.  It’s still unclear what kind of a contribution Moon can make for the team and Thomas is far too inconsistent.  White, on the other hand, is a steady force, with a PER of 12.72 (hoopdata.com).

Mathew: Tyrus Thomas. Thomas may have played his best game of the season last night, so if I’m Coach Silas I’m giving him the opportunity to build on that. You’d also like to see how a guy like Thomas competes with all that’s on the line tonight.

3- This will be the Bobcats first nationally televised game of the season that isn’t aired to a limited audience (like NBAtv). It’s ironic that it’s also the one Charlotte game of the season that may draw national attention due to the fact that the Bobcats are trying to avoid NBA history. The only shot Charlotte seems to have lies in the hands of Mike Woodson and how much he decides to rest his starters. Pick it, Bobcats or Knicks?

Spencer: Bobcats. Laugh all you want, but I refuse to accept that this team is the worst team in NBA history until evidence actually is provided in numbers. Until the buzzer sounds tonight and the Bobcats officially have the worst winning percentage in NBA history, I’m going to pretend like they’re winning this one. Mike Woodson, please don’t play any starters. Thanks.

Jenn: Bobcats. Wouldn’t it be bittersweet to see the Cats pull out a win tonight?  A competitive game last night against the Magic gives a semblance of hope that Charlotte could get the W.  The Knicks might not mind losing this game either if it means they don’t have to face the Heat.

Mathew: Knicks. I really want to pick the Bobcats, but I’ll have to side with my head over my heart. I think the effort will be there given the national stage and the aforementioned potential be labeled the League’s all-time worst team; however, with the loss of Brown an already thin Bobcats roster is now anorexic (if it wasn’t already). The Knicks win the finale tonight in Charlotte.