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Game Preview: New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets, January 29, 2024

Should be an easy win (no jinxes)

In-Season Tournament - Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine anyone had this game circled on their calendars when the schedule came out before the season. It’s a random game late in January where the Knicks are playing a non-rival team, and a very bad one at that, on the road. Yet, for more reasons than one, there’s likely going to be a good amount of people tuning in.

First of all, this will be New York’s first game without Julius Randle this season, meaning fans and analysts around the league are likely going to be curious about how Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks operate both schematically and rotation-wise to combat the loss of their star forward. Is Josh Hart going to be the starter? Will it be OG Anunoby soaking up even more minutes as the backup power forward? What will Precious Achiuwa and Quentin Grimes’ minutes look like going forward? How will Randle’s touches, minutes, and usage be divided among the rest of the team?

Secondly, Jalen Brunson. That’s it. Brunson had already been scoring 30+ points on a nightly basis before the Randle injury, but with his running mate out, we could be in for a few 40+ point games sprinkled in here and there in the near future. He will now have to shoulder an even larger portion of the offensive load, and fans will likely want to watch one of the best point guards in the league and see how and if he can take his game to an even higher level.

Thirdly, the Knicks are currently riding a six-game winning streak. Even if it’s against one of the worst teams in the league, and even if it’s without Randle, it should be fun tuning in to see them potentially push their streak to seven games.


ESPN gives the Knicks a whopping 81.5% chance to win this game even without Randle, which says a lot about how good the Knicks have been and how bad the 10-34 Hornets have been. New York, especially since they sometimes come out of the gates a bit slow against bad teams, may take some time to find its footing in their opening minutes without Randle, but with Brunson, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Hartenstein, and whoever else they decide to plug in at power forward, they should have plenty of talent to defeat a Hornets team that not only recently lost Terry Rozier but has struggled mightily on both sides of the ball, ranking 28th in the league in offensive rating, and dead last in defensive rating.

The Knicks currently are 9.5-point favorites, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them beating the Hornets by double digits in this one. Even if the bench minutes continue to look a bit uninspiring offensively, even if the team misses Randle, and even if Hartenstein still isn’t 100%, Charlotte simply isn’t good enough to really test a Knicks team with or without Randle.

Knicks win 110-90

Game Details

Who: New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets

When: 7:00 pm EST, Monday, January 29, 2024

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

Watch: MSG

Follow: @ptknicksblog