Knicks vs. Magic 1 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
Following a difficult road trip where the Knicks suffered two losses to the Grizzlies and Thunder, New York will search for some home cooking with a four-game home stand on the docket. Unfortunately, Carmelo Anthony’s status remains questionable after he was sidelined with a right ankle sprain on Thursday in Memphis. New York’s leading scorer also caught his wrist in-between his teammate and a defender, causing a left sprain. The team will find out if Anthony is available Monday morning while attempting to reverse the losing skid and improve on its 6-6 overall record.
Most of the chatter surrounding the Magic involves All-Star center Dwight Howard. His future destination has overshadowed Orlando’s 8-3 start this year, which has the squad sitting in fourth place in the latest Eastern Conference standings. During the short transaction period after the lockout, the Magic only acquired one major piece by adding Glen “Big Baby” Davis to the roster. Davis played a major role for the Celtics over the last four years. On the injury front, Jason Richardson left Thursday’s game in the third quarter with a sprained left knee. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Richardson said he will probably not play in New York. Currently, the Magic are riding a three-game road winning streak and will conclude the four-game trip on Monday against the Knicks.
Last Time Out
New York fell to Oklahoma City 104-92 on Saturday night without Anthony in the lineup. Tyson Chandler was perfect from the floor and at the charity stripe, recording 14 points and five of his seven rebounds on the offensive glass.
Howard made 39 trips to the free throw line on Thursday against the Warriors. The Orlando center set the record for the most free-throw attempts in NBA history while his team captured a 117-109 victory over Golden State. Howard finished with a remarkable 45 points and 23 rebounds as the Magic eased into a win after outscoring the Warriors 37-27 in the fourth quarter.
The Numbers Game
This will mark the organization’s 13th consecutive year and 26th time playing on the holiday (18-7, 18-6 at home).
Match-up to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Dwight Howard
There is a reason his nickname is Superman. Glancing at the statistical leaders for the Magic, Howard leads them in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks per game. His impact on the game is undeniable and luckily for the Knicks, they have a newly acquired seven-footer to challenge Howard in the paint. Chandler will attempt to keep Howard from getting deep post position early in the shot clock. If Chandler can play him straight up, the four other New York defenders can stay at home and avoid the double team. Offensively, Chandler will attack with alley-oops off screen-and-rolls and Stoudemire will also force action in the paint to potentially get Howard in foul trouble early in the contest.
What to Look For
Stan Van Gundy’s teams always seem to spread the floor with shooters and let the long bombs fly. This season is no different with Orlando ranking second in the league in 3-point attempts and third in 3-point percentage at 40.9. The Knicks defenders will have to be careful when collapsing on Howard in the paint. If the big man quickly finds open shooters on the perimeter it could be a long day for New York. The Magic also hit shots from downtown off transition opportunities, which can cause massive confusion for the defense. Similar to the contest against Philadelphia, the Knicks will need a collective defensive effort to post their third consecutive win at Madison Square Garden.