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Gameday Preview: Bobcats vs Knicks

Pump Up Music: DMX -- "Party Up"

The Big Picture: The Knicks and the Bobcats have, roughly, the same ceiling. If you squint hard enough, you can imagine both teams winning 40 games, but that's hardly a reasonable expectation.

What's probably most interesting about this game is the total contrast in styles. Mike D'Antoni's Knicks will push and push and push the ball up the floor, looking for the open shot while the defense is in transition, while the Bobcats will slow the game down and probe and probe and probe, trying to force the defense into an execution lapse for an easy bucket.

Key to Victory: Obviously, the Cats will have to score more than 59 points. That shouldn't be a problem. What will be a problem is sticking to a plan. I may want the Cats to play with more fundamental improvisation and flow than Larry Brown prefers, but I can still recognize that when some guys break from the plan and others don't, nobody's successful.

The beauty of D'Antoni's system is that it dictates a tempo to the game that's extremely difficult to combat, and not many teams are equipped to play at that tempo the way the Knicks are. If the Bobcats get caught up in trying to run the floor and play at that pace, they won't be able to keep up.

This is a little pop-psychological, but the Cats might consider attempting to dictate their style on the Knicks with attitude adjustments. Slug Danilo Gallinari early. Post up Nate Robinson. Spring a few surprise half court traps in order to make them hesitate before they rush the ball up the floor. In other words, give the Knicks players every reason in the world to take a moment before running the offense they want to run. Make them think, if even for a split second, that there will be negative consequences. We can't have some 6-9 Italian teenager bombing 7-13 from three on us and expect to win.

Detail That Might Interest .08% of Fans: Toney Douglas, a backup guard for the Knicks, is the brother of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas.