I don’t think this one is a slam dunk for the Knicks. Getting their 8th win in a row will be a challenge. Carmelo Anthony will continue to sit out (no surprise), the Knicks are 10-point favorites, and the hype surrounding the JR Smith acquisition has everyone thinking New York will challenge the Heat in the East. With Dallas looming Sunday, this is a classic letdown spot.
The good news is that the Hornets will be without Jarrett Jack, is a very solid player who is currently leading the injury-ravaged Hornets (6-23, but two wins in a row!) in points (15.2) and assists (6.6). Also missing in action: Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry and Eric Gordon, all likely starters. But they’ve got Trevor Ariza! And yes, Lance Thomas, the big-time high school player who didn’t really do anything at Duke, is on the roster and in the rotation.
But what if Marco Belinelli hits another 6 three-pointers like he did Wednesday (at 1:33, watch him break Dunleavy’s ankles) in Milwaukee? What if Chris Kaman has his way with Tyson Chandler? What if Gustavo Ayon (yes, that’s an actual person) has a 13-point explosion like he did against Utah?
I’ll go with New York in a disappointing squeaker, 92-88. For their sake, I hope Bill Walker and Steve Novak play well. They’re about to get squeezed for minutes when JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony re-join the team (likely Sunday).