Knicks @ Hawks 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
Interim head coach Mike Woodson said Jeremy Lin would miss his third straight game tonight against the Hawks. Woodson also confirmed that he will maintain the same starting lineup as Wednesday with Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler.
New York: Wednesday’s victory over the Magic signaled the first time since January 12 that the Knicks have jumped over .500 and they are streaking with eight wins in their last nine games. New York hopes to see Jeremy Lin back on the floor as he deals with a sore knee, which has resulted in two missed games for the point guard. Lin traveled with the team to Atlanta but his status has not been determined for the contest against the Hawks on Friday night. Additionally, Amar’e Stoudemire will be sidelined for the next 2-4 weeks due to a bulging disk in his back. Carmelo Anthony is also struggling with a strained groin that he suffered in the Milwaukee contest. Regardless of the setbacks, the shorthanded Knicks are still in the chase for an Atlantic Division crown and they only trail Boston by 2.5 games with a chance to move up to No.7.
Atlanta: Despite the loss of Al Horford early in the season, the Hawks have managed to stay eight games above the .500 mark and hold the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference standings at the moment. Atlanta is 6-4 in its last 10 games with an extremely important set of games against New York and Philadelphia to conclude the month of March.
Last Time Out
New York: Orlando was held to 12 points in the second quarter and the Knicks rallied to a 108-86 blowout win on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Atlanta: Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls found a way to top the Hawks 98-77 on Wednesday.
The Numbers Game
New York has held its opponents to 86 points per game over the last nine games while posting an 8-1 record.
Match-up to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Josh Smith
During the last couple of games, Anthony has shifted to the power forward position, which has allowed him to score from different angles on the floor. The All-Star increased his offensive productivity by placing his back to the basket on the blocks. This adjustment worked against a non-traditional 4-man Ryan Anderson on Wednesday. The matchup on Friday will be completely different for Anthony as he faces a defensive beast with a 6-9, 225-pound frame. Josh Smith is the all-purpose man for the Hawks and he is averaging 21.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.5 steals in 36.9 minutes. The Atlanta big man will attempt to score in transition as he is an incredible athlete on the fast break.
What to Look For
The Knicks have remarkably transformed into an elite defensive team under interim head coach Mike Woodson. In each of its eight wins, New York has shutdown the opposition in one quarter while gaining the necessary separation to build insurmountable leads. With a 17-point victory over Atlanta this season, the Knicks should feel extremely confident heading into this contest. Anthony and company will have to find the offensive rhythm from Wednesday night as they face the No. 5 ranked team in points allowed per game.