Where: Madison Square Garden
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
PG: Kyle Lowry
SF: Landry Fields
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
PG: Pablo Prigioni
SG: Raymond Felton
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmello Anthony
C: Kenyon Martin
For the first time since the very beginning of the season against the 76ers, the Knicks have a back to back, home and home series against the same team.
After beating the Raptors last night 99-94 in Toronto, the Knicks welcome them to the Garden tonight looking to win their fourth in a row and split the season series.
The record against division opponents is important in the tie breaking process and outside of the 3-1 against the 76ers, the Knicks are currently 4-5 against Toronto, Brooklyn and Boston.
With the Nets currently at 9-4 against division opponents, the Knicks are at 7-6 and trying to secure that tie breaker can help the Knicks down the line with their lead only at 1.5 games as of tonight.
So, yes it's the second night of a back to back and the game right after clinching a playoff berth, but this game is still important in the long run. Winning in the division, at home no less, is big and losing the season series to the sub par Raptors would not be good.
It will also be interesting to see how Mike Woodson, who admitted he should not have played Melo over 40 minutes yesterday, handles his superstars minutes tonight.
Melo has had to deal with a bunch of frustrating injuries and there is no need to run him into the ground so quickly after he got back from draining his knee less than two weeks ago.
I also wonder if the Knicks realize that Alan Anderson can shoot after he torched them last night for 35 points, 20 in the 3rd quarter alone, and hit them for 26 in the last game between these two teams at the Garden.
The Raptors, minus Rudy Gay should really not be a match for the Knicks at home, but we all know they will hang around again and be annoying.
The Knicks know that defending home court from here on out will be important and getting another win tonight will keep up their momentum before the schedule gets tough again starting next week with a game in Boston.
Five Questions About Tonight's Game
- After playing 40+ minutes last night, how will Melo look and play tonight?
- Can the Knicks stop Alan Anderson?
- Will Kenyon Martin keep up his strong play at center?
- Will J.R. Smith continue his improved decision making and drive the lane more?
- Will Lowry or DeRozan step up for Toronto in Rudy Gay's absence?