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Game preview: Hornets at Knicks — 1/17/22

Hot 7- on 10-seed action!

Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Three things to know before today’s 1:00 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. Day match between the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks.

1) These Charlotteans are no charlatans

Only a dozen NBA teams are at least three games over .500. The Hornets are one of them, and one of the more fun to watch. Of their six players with over 1000 minutes — Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball, Kelly Oubre, Terry Rozier and Cody Martin — Hayward (31) is the only one over 27. They look like they could be high school kids working the drive-thru.

(I think that video’s cute as shit.)

Oubre is out with Covid, but Charlotte still has the juice to play fast but not loose — they’re second in pace and third in offensive rating, yet only Atlanta turns it over less (the Hawks had just nine against the Knicks). If we were fish and NBA teams were shivers of sharks and Charlotte swam by, young and sleek and showing off and mostly backing it up, you’d be like “Ahhh, shit.”

But as this dude Angel I know used to say, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. The Hornets are as bad at defending as they are good at scoring, with a defensive rating of 26th. They’re also a team that can get bullied on the glass, something the Knicks and Mitchell Robinson in particular have been doing a lot lately.” Angel was oddly specific about random shit.

Like the Knicks, the Hornets have been hot of late, winners of seven of 10. Also like the Knicks, their upcoming stretch of games is a chance to get on a roll: of Charlotte’s next nine games, only two teams, including the Knicks, have winning records. After a disappointing home loss to Orlando, the Hornets will view this game as a chance to put that behind them.

2) Going up?

In the volatile climate that is the Eastern conference, the Knicks were very recently outside the play-in; if they win today, they’ll tie Charlotte for seventh. The Knicks play four games in the next week that are eminently winnable, after which they face a daunting three-game road trip at Cleveland, Miami and Milwaukee. There’s no better time for a win than now, but that’s the case now more than usual. The challenge for New York is that their opponent is thinking the exact same thing. Odds are this one’ll be more exciting than years if not decades of “January versus Charlotte” jokes ever imagined possible.

3) Martin Luther King Jr.’s notes from seminary class

“I am conviced that capitalism has seen its best days in American, and not only in America, but in the entire world. It is a well known fact that no social institut can survive when it has outlived its usefullness. This, capitalism has done. It has failed to meet the needs of the masses.

“We need only to look at the underlying developements of our society. There is a definite revolt by, what Marx calls, “the preletarian”, against the bourgeoise. Every where we turn we turn we are faced with stricks and a demand for socialized medicine. In fact, what is more socialistic than the income tax, the T.V.A., or the N.R.B. What will eventually happen is this, labor will become so power (this was certainly evidenced in the recent election) that she will be able to place a president in the White House. This will inevitably bring about a nationalization of industry. That will be the end of capitalism.

“I am not saying that there is a conscious move toward socialism, not even by labor, the move is certainly unconscious. But there is a definite move away from capitalism, whether we conceive of it as conscious or unconscious. Capitalism finds herself like a losing football team in the last quarter trying all types of tactics to survive.”

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