By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Bobcats | The Time Warner Cable Arena
When: Monday | 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat
New York: Another goal has been achieved. With the 2 seed all locked up after yesterday's triumph over the Pacers, the Knicks' focus shifts to the playoffs their first-round opponent, the Boston Celtics. With two games and almost a week left before Game 1, players will have a chance to rest up and get healthy as they prepare for their run to a championship. After sustaining a mild shoulder injury yesterday, Carmelo Anthony said he does not expect to play (but could if necessary), and former North Carolina Tar Heel Raymond Felton said he hopes he gets "a lot of rest" during the next week.
Charlotte: For the second consecutive year, the Bobcats (19-61) will finish the season with the NBA's worst record. But that is not to say that things aren't going according to plan. First-year head coach Mike Dunlap knew he was in for a rebuilding project, and his team has fulfilled that expectation. Led by recent lottery picks Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson, they have begun to establish a culture of hard work and development that they hope will pay off down the road. There is certainly nowhere to go but up, as they rank dead last in team defensive efficiency and 28th on offense.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks started out fast and never let up, beating Indiana in a physical affair at the Garden yesterday, 90-80.
Charlotte: The Bobcats continued their quest for the top pick in the draft, losing to the Bucks, 95-85, on Saturday.
The Numbers Game
Today's Numbers brought to you by Knicks PR:
The Knicks earned their highest playoff seed since 1994.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 14, 2013
Jason Kidd played in his 1,390th career game, passing Reggie Miller for sixth on the NBA's all-time list.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 14, 2013
The Knicks have won 30 home games for the first time since the 2000-01 season.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 14, 2013
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Without knowing who will actually play for the Knicks, let's go with Shump, who is neither hurt nor a veteran -- the two primary indicators of post-clinch rest candidates. At some point, we should get to see these two go against each other, which should be really fun. They are two of the best young defenders in the NBA, and both are regularly praised for their work ethic. Shump is a year ahead of Kidd-Gilchrist in his NBA development, and that is apparent in the prgogress he's made as a shooter. Kidd-Gilchrist has work to do in that department, but games like this -- with the season all but over for Charlotte -- should provide a glimpse into the effort he gives all the time.
What to Look For
Tonight, all eyes will be on the possible return of Rasheed Wallace to the lineup. Coach Woodson surprised many by announcing before yesterday's game that Sheed has been running and could make his return in Charlotte. Get excited. He also said that he will look to rest players like Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith -- guys who have played big minutes down the stretch -- for these last two games, so expect to see a lot of James White, Solomon Jones, Steve Novak, etc. With the 2 seed clinched, the team has every reason to think ahead to this weekend and the beginning of their playoff push.