Game Overview: I've had the pure unadulterated joy of having watched most of each of these teams' most recent game. Before I got booted from a closing Starbucks, I saw the Raptors put the screws to the Knicks. When I left, the game had become what I described at the time as "like watching poop dry". The Knicks without Amar'e Stoudemire are rough. Carmelo Anthony (and I guess Toney Douglas, sure, whatever) was pretty much the only player who could create his own shot or plays for others. Tyson Chandler holds down the paint, though with the Knicks jacking tons of threes, he's not as effective on offense because long rebounds do him no good. Their bench was a trainwreck, save for the nice little surprise Josh Harrelson has turned out to be. But, the rest? Mike Bibby is flat out awful. He has a negative PER. He's shooting 1-10 from behind the arc and has a FG% of 18.8 percent. And then there's the rest! Jared Jeffries! Bill Walker! Steve Novak! Renaldo Balkman!
Luckily for Knicks fans, Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert should be back, who can add a hefty dose of offensive firepower for New York.
And on the other side of things, I just got done watching Bobcats-Cavaliers! Are we sure Larry Brown still isn't coaching the Bobcats? Because that was some fantastic defense! Surely a frontcourt of Stoudemire-Chandler can't take advantage of the Bobcats' D.J. White and Boris Diaw, right? If anything, the Bobcats need to wall off the paint and force the Knicks into jump shots and take advantage when each team puts out their bench. But this team cannot wall off the paint from many teams, especially any team with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. This could get ugly, but what do I know, maybe the Bobcats have one of those games where everything falls into place and Boris Diaw magically grabs a ton of rebounds and facilitates a buttery offense. The Bobcats' speedy guards will probably give the Knicks some trouble, though.
Key Matchup: Kemba Walker vs. New York City - homecoming! Time to show them what you're made of on one of the basketball world's biggest stages.