Charlotte Bobcats vs. New York Knickerbockers preview -- Game 18

Today's Tunes:

"Recommendation" - Little Dragon

Game Overview: So far this season, Bobcats-Knicks matches have been hotly-contested battles. Part of this is because the Knicks are just not very good at this whole basketball thing, and part of it is that the Bobcats just play the Knicks really well. Last time they played, the Knicks seemed to be on the mend, getting Iman Shumpert back in the rotation at starting point guard. After defeating the Bobcats and the 76ers, the Knicks free-falled and seem to be approaching rock bottom for their team. New York is in the midst of a six-game losing streak, including a gut-wrenching double-overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets that effectively validated the Nugget's success in the Carmelo Anthony trade, which I'm sure makes Knicks fans feel quite pleasant.

That's not to say Carmelo isn't a problem here. Personally, I don't think an Anthony-Stoudemire combination coalesces into a great duo for the reasons most don't: they occupy similar spaces on the court and require a lot of touches on offense and are weak defenders, etc. Against Denver, Carmelo had 25 points on 30 shots while Amar'e took only nine field goal attempts on the night. Stoudemire didn't even get a shot in the fourth quarter. Or in the first overtime. And he only got one in the second overtime, after the game was already decided.

That said, they can be a good squad, but the team flat out isn't built for it. It takes a good night for their perimeter shooters to knock down shots. There is no true point guard court general to facilitate ball movement. The bench just can't get things done. Maybe once Baron Davis is healthy they become a much better team. He certainly has the ability to change things; I just hope he isn't going to be rushed back too soon.

Key Matchup: Kemba Walker vs. Iman Shumpert -- in the past, Kemba has had trouble with Shumpert's defense. He's quick and just gets how to position himself on defense to help stymie penetrating guards. And he has quick hands on defense, which couple with his pressure to force steals and turnovers. That could be pretty doggone important considering Augustin's out with his big toe injury, which effectively makes Walker one of the very few scoring threats for the Bobcats.

Links From Around The NBA:

Quarterly Report Team Grades: Deep teams thriving - CBSSports.com

The Gothic’s 1st Quarter All-Stars: Eastern Edition | The Gothic Ginobili

Bobcats rookie Kemba Walker to take over point | CharlotteObserver.com

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