Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Pre-Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic
The Knicks will look to move to 5-0 for the third time in franchise history Tuesday night against the Magic. Good things happen when the Knicks start seasons this strong, as in 1993-1994 they lost in the NBA Finals and in 1969-1970 they won the NBA Championship. Tonight is the start of four games in six nights, the first three of which are on the road. Here are some things to keep an eye on for the game tonight.
-Keep up Defensive Pressure
The Magic’s offense thus far this season has been offensive. They are averaging just 87.8 points per game, lowest in the NBA. It has been even uglier for the Magic in their last four games, all losses, averaging only 77.5 points per game in that span.
This is something that should continue, as the Knicks are the top team in defensive efficiency currently in the NBA. The Knicks are playing suffocating defense, holding opponents to a lowly 40.7 percent shooting from the field. This one has ugly spelled all over it if you are not a Knicks fan.
-Match-ups Against Carmelo Anthony
Early reports are that the Magic will start with Arron Afflalo getting the assignment of guarding Carmelo Anthony, who is leading the NBA with 27.3 points per game. It will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on throughout the night as Afflalo is a good defender but does not have the size to match-up with players like Anthony; he is more suited guarding shooting and point guards.
If Anthony takes Afflalo to the paint like he should, it will be interesting to see who the Magic turn to. Power forward Glen Davis does not have the lateral quickness or speed to keep up with Anthony on the perimeter. In the post, Davis could pose a problem for Anthony but Mike Woodson will definitely put Anthony in position to take advantage of whoever guards him.
Where the Magic can attack Anthony is on the defensive end, as he has expended much more energy there compared to past seasons. Because of that extra effort, forcing Anthony to guard someone like Davis would take a toll and theoretically make Anthony less effective on the offensive end of the court because of his energy level being lowered.
The Knicks bench will play a pivotal role in the game tonight and should be a strength going forward. The bench for the Knicks is far superior to the one the Magic will use and the Knicks need to take advantage.
J.R. Smith has been playing some of the best basketball of his career and has been a consistent second scoring option behind Anthony for the Knicks with Amar’e Stoudemire. Smith has helped out on the defensive end and on the boards also, doing everything the Knicks wanted from him and more.
-Avoid a letdown
This is a quintessential trap game for the Knicks, as the Magic are an opponent that will be looked over by plenty of opponents this season. With big games against the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies Thursday and Friday it is not uncommon for players to look past tonight’s game and to the future ones instead.
This is where the presence of veterans like Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace come in handy. They know the ropes of the NBA game and will have to keep everyone focused on the task at hand. This is a game the Knicks should win by double-digits easily and command right from the opening tip.