Gametime: 7:00 p.m. EST
Now that Tyson Chandler is back in the swing of things after an early season injury, the Knicks look to be on the upswing having won five straight games after last night's home overtime victory against the Phoenix Suns. In such a decrepit conference as the East, this means the Knicks are back on the verge of playoff seeding despite being a lowly 15-22 on the season.
Conversely, the Bobcats are on a deep free-fall having lost eight of their last nine games. Their once proud strong defense is a shadow of what it once was, which is due to a combination of injuries and lack of focus to the defensive gameplan.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist should be back for the Bobcats, which will help their defense considerably.
Offensively, the Bobcats need to take advantage of Kemba Walker's skills in the pick and roll. The Knicks love to switch defensively to simplify their defense, which sometimes isn't a smart move, depending on their lineups. Andrea Bargnani is generally a passable defender in the post because of his size, but he gets lost easily when he has to be mobile defensively, a major weakness in the pick and roll and on screens or any other part of defensive basketball.
Switching in general can lead to confusion for New York's defense so off-ball screens and movement is a good idea against the Knicks.
Defensively, the Bobcats will need to contain the Knicks passing around the perimeter and in transition. Lagging on defensive rotations can lead to the Knicks swinging the ball for good three-point looks, which can spell doom if they find some gold from Raymond Felton or J.R. Smith. The Bobcats will also have to get back quickly in transition against the Knicks. Even if Chandler is out (he has an upper respiratory infection, was questionable yesterday), the Knicks love to get Carmelo Anthony working in the post and early entry passes to take advantage of easy positioning can really hurt.
With Kidd-Gilchrist back, hopefully the Bobcats can get some nagging defense to keep Anthony out of his groove offensively. Also, it would be marvelous if the Bobcats didn't let Andrea Bargnani go off for a big game like their last matchup. Just sayin'.