Knicks vs. Clippers 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
New York: On Tuesday afternoon, the Knicks took advantage of a rare practice session after a day off following the road win in Atlanta. At 34-30, New York has secured a playoff berth but its seeding is yet to be determined. The Knicks are tied with Philadelphia while holding the tiebreaker at this point and if Orlando loses the remainder of its games and New York wins out, the squad will move up to the No. 6 spot. If the postseason started today, the Knicks would square off against the Miami Heat in the first round. New York concludes the regular season at MSG against the Clippers before a road contest in Charlotte in the season finale on Thursday night. The home crowd should see a healthy and full roster except for Jared Jeffries, who will sit out the final two contests in preparation for the postseason.
32 Los Angeles: The blockbuster acquisition of Chris Paul this summer generated a ton of hype for the “other” team at Staples Center. However, with the addition of Paul, Blake Griffin’s aerial theatrics, the return of DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles had major expectations to make noise in the postseason. Three weeks ago, whispers were heard around the league about the potential dismissal of head coach Vinny Del Negro. The team responded to their signal caller and won 11 of 13 games to jump right back in the playoff race and compete for a high seed in the Western Conference. With the Clippers season finale set in New York, the team sits 15 games above the .500 mark; a significant improvement from last year’s 32-50 overall record. The Lakers clinched the Pacific Division title after the Clippers suffered a road loss to Atlanta last night. Currently at the No. 4 seed, Los Angeles would face the Grizzlies if the postseason started today.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks escaped Atlanta with an exhilarating 113-112 victory over the Hawks on Sunday afternoon.
Los Angeles: Griffin dropped 36 points in a 109-102 loss to the Hawks last night.
The Numbers Game
Entering Wednesday’s final home game, the Knicks will look to improve on an impressive 21-11 record at Madison Square Garden this year.
Match-up to Watch
Knicks Backcourt vs. Chris Paul
Paul is fresh off a 34-point outburst last night and he also finished with eight dimes, five boards, and two steals. Arguably the league’s best point guard, Paul is on tear over his last five games by averaging 23.8 points, dishing out 9.8 assists, and an eye-popping 3.2 steals. Paul is obviously gearing up for a postseason run and if last year is any indication of his ability to carry a team, the Western Conference should be concerned with the 26-year old. With all that said, Paul strained his left groin in the Tuesday loss and is listed as questionable for the contest at MSG. On the opposite side, Baron Davis returned to the starting lineup on Sunday afternoon and looked fresh for the Knicks. Davis posted 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor and three long bombs to go along with 10 assists. With Jeremy Lin sidelined, New York will rely on its veteran point guards, Davis and Mike Bibby to hit timely buckets, distribute the rock, and defend on the perimeter.
What to Look For
After missing Sunday’s contest, Caron Butler is back on the floor for the Clippers. Butler joins a stacked Los Angeles lineup that features Paul, Randy Foye, Griffin, and Jordan anchoring the paint. While Griffin and Paul combined for 70 points last night, the Clippers have options on the offensive side of the floor. Foye has hit the most 3-pointers in the league since the All-Star break and Butler can go for 20-plus on any given night. From a defensive standpoint, the Knicks must effectively defend the myriad of alley-oops from Los Angeles. Griffin and Jordan love to work off the pick-and-roll and rise above the rim for demoralizing dunks. In the fast break game, both players will sprint out after a turnover or errant shot to damage their opponents in spectacular fashion.