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Preview: Hornets to finish out New York road trip against red-hot Knicks

Nine-straight for the Knickerbockers coming into tonight.

New York Knicks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (20-45) at New York Knicks (39-27)

When: 7:00 PM EST

Where: Madison Square Garden; New York, N.Y.

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass

Outfitting: Hornets — City (granite); Knicks — Association (white)

Injury report

CHA: LaMelo Ball (ankle surgery), OUT; Cody Martin (knee soreness), OUT.

NYK: Jalen Brunson (foot), QUESTIONABLE.

The Charlotte Hornets are set to take on the New York Knicks, winners of nine-straight games, coming off a huge confidence-building win over the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics last time out.

New York beat Boston 131-129 in double-overtime on Sunday for their ninth-straight win, putting them 12 games above .500 and within a game of fourth place in the East. Immanuel Quickley dropped a career-high 38 points while Jalen Brunson sat out with a foot injury, and Julius Randle and RJ Barrett combined for 60 points as they out-dueled the Celtics for the second time in a week.

Tonight marks the third and final meeting of the season between the Hornets and Knicks; New York won the first two, claiming a 134-131 overtime victory on Oct. 26, 2022 and a 121-102 win on Dec. 9, 2022. The Knicks boast the number two offense and have been the best rebounding team in the NBA during their hot streak.

Despite losing each of the last three games, the Hornets have been the NBA’s third-best defense in that time. An ungodly 93.7 offensive rating swings their net rating to -13.9 (still better than Utah’s -14.9, though), but if Charlotte can dig their efficiency out out the gutter it’s sunken into since LaMelo Ball was injured, the numbers say they’ve got a decent chance to end New York’s streak tonight.

Let’s hope Quickley, Randle and Barrett all cool off while Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and PJ Washington heat up tonight. The Spurs just lost two games to Houston, further decreasing the likelihood that the Hornets catch them for the third-worst record. With 16 games remaining, Charlotte is three-and-a-half games out of the third-best lottery odds and four games behind the top slot. Might as well lean on the young guys and end a nine-game win-streak in MSG while they’re at it, no?