Monday, January 9, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Charlotte Bobcats - Preview

The rematch! Tonight at 7:30 the Knicks will try to get revenge on the Bobcats for embarrassing them last Wednesday at MSG. Since that meeting the Knicks have won two in a row over the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons. The Bobcats, meanwhile, have lost two in a row to the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers.

Photo by Anthony Gruppuso, US Presswire
The Knicks should be feeling good after they put a beatdown on the depleted Pistons. The defense and offense came together, forcing turnovers and getting baskets in the open floor. In the halfcourt, they were able to get in the lane and get easy baskets, or stroke the 3-pointer on kick-outs.

Take the jump for some notes and info.

It will be interesting to see whether the Knicks come out aggressively and with continuity tonight. They were getting blown out by the lowly Wizards in the first quarter before squeaking out a three point win in the fourth quarter. However, in their win over Detroit, they looked much better and much more confident in their gameplan.

Here's some things to look out for:
  • Iman Shumpert's first start at the Garden! Recall that in the two teams' last game, fans were chanting Shumpert's name because of his all-around greatness. The Knicks have played better with Shump Shump on the floor, particularly with his ability to get into the lane and pass efficiently. We'll see if he plays extra well in front of a pumped up Garden crowd.
  • Mike Bibby! Bibby has risen from the dead and found his stroke, particularly from beyond the arc (as if Mike Bibby shot from anywhere else). Toney Douglas has played just 16 total minutes over the last two games. Part of that is because of a bum shoulder, but also because of Shumpert and Bibby's excellent play. Will Bibby be the first guard off the bench tonight?
  • Today I discussed at length, Amar'e Stoudemire's offensive production, and noted that around the rim, he's been near-automatic. Over the last three games, since returning from an sprained ankle, Amar'e has been scoring and rebounding rather well. However, his jumper is still awry. Will we see STAT attack the rim and keep up his splendid play?
  • Are Gerald Henderson and Boris Diaw going to light up the Knicks' defense again? The defense was unsightly last game against Charlotte and allowed the Bobcats to breathe freely, despite the Knicks' best efforts to come back. Plain and simple: the Bobcats should not score 118 points again.

Bobcats Scouting Report
  • D.J. Augustin is having a breakout season as the Bobcats' point guard, using his speed and craftiness to get into the teeth of the defense and score at the rim or dish it off to teammates. In order to keep squiriming his way between defenders, Augustin insists that he must become "flatter". On the road, when the team stays at a hotel, Augustin demands that teammates stack weight plates used for bench pressing on his chest and stomach in order to flatten him.
  • Center Byron Mullens is having a good season as well, thriving coming off the bench as a scorer. He attributes this to the foot massages that injured power forward Tyrus Thomas gives him before each game.
  • Boris Diaw has been helping tutor rookie big man, Bismack Biyombo, by telling him to use his physical assets and watch how Diaw plays. One thing Biyombo has noticed is how Diaw uses his rather large behind to back down opponents on offense. Though he doesn't get a lot of playing time, Bismack stays ready and practices all the time, even off the court, by backing down anyone that's in his way. This has quite a few problems this season in restaurants.

Bring on the Bobcats! We'll see if the Knickerbockers are ready and able to carry the positive momentum for Detroit's game. Go Knicks! 

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