Where: Madison Square Garden
When: 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch: NBA TV (!!!)
The Charlotte Hornets get right back to it after taking turkey-day off, as they travel to New York to take on the Knicks.
It seems as if the Atlanta Hawks win last Friday was years ago. The Hornets have struggled through their past three games, dropping them all. Now at 8-6 on the season, they look to get back on track with an away-home back-to-back affair against the Knicks.
Thankfully, the Hornets will get Cody Zeller back in the rotation tonight after missing the past three games. He's been sorely missed on both sides of the ball, and again will be vital in matching up with the Knicks frontcourt. Jeremy Lamb will be active for the second game in a row, and the Hornets have sent Aaron Harrison back to Greensboro for another D-League assignment. As for the Knicks, Lance Thomas is doubtful and will most likely miss his sixth game in a row. Joakim Noah, on the other hand, is probable tonight after missing the past two contests.
Kemba Walker gave it his all on Wednesday, when the Hornets faltered late and lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Walker finished with 26 points, seven assists and nine rebounds. Scoring wasn't the problem, though. The Hornets had little answer for Kawhi Leonard, who put up 30 points on 14/21 shooting. The Spurs got an additional 23 points from LaMarcus Aldridge in route to their seventh straight win.
In their second nationally televised game in a row, the Hornets will get redemption after losing last night's ESPN broadcasted game.
However, they are up against a Knicks team that has won two straight against the Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks. With a 7-7 record, the Knicks look to continue their recent surge after starting a bit slow. The slow start may have warranted, however, considering they are a very new-look team this season. The backcourt additions of Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings and former-Hornet Courtney Lee have proved to work at times this season and are only getting more comfortable by the day. Also, Kristaps Porzingis continues to amaze in his second year in the league by averaging 21 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. He's a matchup nightmare whether he's playing the four or the five due to his 7'3 frame and great touch along the perimeter. Carmelo Anthony, the team's leading scorer, is averaging 22.6 points per game this season and seems to have welcomed the new talent with open arms.
As for the Hornets, another inspiring performance from Walker would never be turned down, but it's important that he gets the help he needs. On the plus side, Marvin Williams was able to somewhat break out of his slump on Wednesday with a 4/6 shooting night. More of the same would be appreciated. As for Nicolas Batum, he didn't struggle against the Spurs as much as he did against the Memphis Grizzlies, but hasn't been as aggressive as we are used to seeing him. Maybe the reentrance of Zeller will help everyone, considering the big-man leads the league in field goal percentage. It also means the other frontcourt players can come off the bench and continue to supply the bench-unit's production.
Should be a fun one in New York. We know Walker feels right at home.
"Cardiac" Kemba Walker taking a poor kid on a ride for a sick game winner. (Video Credit: Newtown2006Nation) pic.twitter.com/Ams4QxP0w7— NBA@SneakerReporter (@NBA_SR) August 1, 2016