After losing last night to the Hawks in NYC, the New York Knicks (30-42) take the floor again tonight versus the Charlotte Hornets (37-35). For the second straight game, New York is likely to be without the services of Julius Randle (quad), so this should be another watchable affair, regardless of the outcome.
Too harsh? Maybe. I am of the opinion that the club should shut down Randle for the remainder of the year. The calendar year. If you disagree, air it out below.
When these two teams last met, Miles Bridges scored a career-high 38 points to lead Charlotte to a 97-87 victory. RJ Barrett chipped in 18 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists for the Knicks. The Hornets currently sit ninth in the Eastern Conference. They have the league’s eighth-best offense, but the 23rd-ranked defense. They run the polish off the floor, so let’s hope the Knicks packed their sneakers.
Tip-off’s at 7 p.m., Bobcat fans.
Sophomore LaMelo Ball (6’7”, 180 lbs) has averaged 19.6 points, 7.4 assists, and 6.8 rebounds in 65 games this season. The youngster will lock horns with 30-year old Alec Burks, the combo guard who does it all! Shooting guard, point guard, small forward—hell, he might even get a few minutes at center before the campaign is through. Alec has averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists this season.
In his seventh season, Terry Rozier (6’1”, 190 lbs) has averaged 19.6 points per game, second only to Bridges. He’s also logging 4.4 assists and 4.3 boards per affair and has a 54% eFG. Not bad. Tonight, the Louisville alum will face Evan Fournier who scored only six points in the last game against Charlotte. In 25 minutes, the Frenchman shot 2-for-9 from the floor, 2-for-5 from the perimeter. With Randle out of the line-up tonight, Evan should have plenty of opportunities to make up for that stinky performance.
Miles Bridges (6’6”, 225 lbs) leads the Hornets with 20 points and 35.9 minutes per game and is their second-best rebounder with seven per outing. The Michigan State man is durable, too, only missed two games this season. He’ll be a tough match-up for the Maple Mamba, who’s sure to be tired after playing 42 minutes last night. Against Atlanta, Barrett finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds on 36% shooting (9-for-25 from the field, 1-for-7 from deep).
P.J. Washington (6’7”, 230 lbs) has averaged 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in about 27 minutes per game. The 23-year old former Wildcat is a decent defender, with 2.7 deflections, just under one steal and one block per contest. For the Knicks at power forward, High-flyin’ Obi Toppin will start again in Randle’s absence. He scored 10 points and added 7 rebounds against the Hawks yesterday, but played only 24 minutes, sharing duties with elderly reserve Taj Gibson. Probably safe to expect more of the same tonight.
Former Blue Devil Mason Plumlee (6’11”, 254 lbs) has averaged eight boards and 6.6 points in 25 minutes per game. Plumlee has played 9 seasons for 5 teams, including the Nuggets and Nets. He was suppsed to face off against Mitchell Robinson, who is a big fan:
Mitchell Robinson posted this on IG and said “I love it…green light“ pic.twitter.com/KoCOUz6IsJ— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) February 26, 2022
But Mitch is out tonight with a sore lower back. That means my man Jericho Sims will start, right? God, I love the kid and would be thrilled to see him in the first five. Thibs wouldn’t be cruel and start Taj instead, right? Taj is probably still sucking oxygen from his minutes last night. Come on, Tom: give us Jericho in all his bouncy, hoppy, alley-ooping glory. Otherwise, you’re fired.
There are 10 games left on the slate for New York (hallelujah), and they will face the Hornets again on March 30. Charlotte leads the season series 2-0, but with a win tonight, New York will be primed to even things up next Wednesday. You doubt my faith? Yeah...me too. But I’m trying, Ringo.
I am genuinely excited to watch more Randle-free Knicks, with RJ Barrett leading the ship and extended Immanuel Quickley heroics. ESPN.com gives Charlotte a 68% chance, and that sounds logical. But logic be damned. Prediction: Knicks by 10.
The Spectrum Center. 7 p.m. Sting ’em, Knicks!
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