Knicks (39-26) vs Magic (18-50)
730PM/ET on MSG
After a dreadful West Coast road trip, in which the Knicks dropped as many bodies as games, they managed to avoid a sweep by scoring a win against the Utah Jazz. But it wasn’t all good. After one helluva performance against the Jazz, the warrior that is Kurt Thomas reportedly has a stress fracture in his right foot and will miss 2-4 weeks. Also, Tyson Chandler’s neck injury was diagnosed as a neck strain. He’s expected to miss another week. So if you’re keeping track, including Amar’e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace, that’s three seven-footers, and Thomas who plays with the fearlessness of a seven-footer, missing crucial time. Marcus Camby is technically available but I feel like he’s one false move away from being added to the sick and the shut in list. Coach Mike Woodson needs to continue to monitor his playing time, especially if we may not have Thomas, STAT, or Wallace for the playoffs. While he’s shown his age, 38, the majority of the season, against the Portland Trailblazers, he surprisingly proved that he’s not completely a shell of his former self. But not expecting him to contribute too much will be key to keeping him “healthy” down the stretch.
Now for the good news.
Melo’s back and optimistic that his injury won’t be an issue. Although the Knicks tried to avoid draining the knee, that was the best call. While Melo is feeling good going into tonight’s game, expecting him to be 100% is unreasonable. It’s been almost two weeks since he’s been dealing with his bizzare fluid in the knee turned hamstring injury. It’ll take some time for him to get comfortable again. Until his shot is back for good, the Knicks must continue to rely on Chris Copeland and Kenyon Martin. Offensively, Copeland has answered when called upon. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 11.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 23 minutes. And K-Mart continues to do exactly what’s required, pose a threat around the perimeter as well as in the paint. If he were able to do that while keeping his fouls to a minimum, we’d really be cooking. I also think with Melo back in the lineup, J.R. Smith can settle back into his old role of chucking up shots whenever he wants. While Melo was out, we needed Smith to be more of a facilitator because he was our number one scoring option, but that’s not his..um…strength?
Although some key players are still out, the Knicks are on the road to recovery. Having Melo back will make a huge difference. Everyone can return to doing what they’re most comfortable doing, whatever that may be.
As for the lottery bound Magic, there’s not much to see there, folks. They’re in a world of hurt since losing Dwight Howard and receiving hardly anything in return. But after playing the best of the west, a cellar dweller like the Magic is exactly the type of opponent the Knicks need to get their mojo back.
Melo will be back in the building and the team will feed off of his energy. Plus, the Magic are just a bad, bad team. Knicks win.
Knicks @ Raptors, 7PM/ET on MSG
Legendary DJ and producer Pete Rock is taking over the Knicks twitter handle tonight. This twitter takeover stunt has been hit or miss all season, but I have a good feeling about tonight. Maybe it’s because I already know what to expect since I follow Pete Rock on twitter and during Knicks games. In any event, follow the Knicks @nyknicks and me too, @sdotrenee.
Also, Patrick Ewing is joining the Knicks post-game broadcast team tonight.
It’s about time the Knicks threw Ewing a tasty bone, as opposed to a BS D-League coaching job. I’m one of those Knicks fans under the belief that until they stop acting cold toward Ewing, nothing good will happen for us. These are baby steps towards reversing the curse. This is good.
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