By, Kenneth Teape – Knickswag Contributor
Pre-Game News and Notes
Magic vs. Knicks: MSG 7:30PM
The Knicks return to Madison Square Garden for the first time in almost two weeks after a rough west coast trip ended with a hard fought win in Utah. The Knicks will hope returning home will put them back on the winning track starting tonight against the Magic. The Knicks will be looking to sweep the season series from the Magic as the won the first three meetings so far his season. The lineups will again take on a different look but should be helped with the return of one All-Star to the lineup, one of the things to look for in the game tonight.
-One All-Star Returns
Carmelo Anthony is set to make is return after having his knee drained last week and missing the last three games of the west coast trip. The Knicks struggled on offense without their leading scorer, but put in better effort on the defensive end, two things that will probably be reversed with him returning to the lineup.
Unfortunately the Knicks will not have the services of their other All-Star Tyson Chandler. Chandler is over the knee injury he suffered in Denver, but is not dealing with a neck injury as an MRI revealed he has a small bulging disc and will miss at least another week.
In addition to Chandler, the Knicks will also be without Kurt Thomas for two-four weeks because of a foot injury. That leaves Mike Woodson very short handed up front as the Knicks are also without Rasheed Wallace and Amar’e Stoudemire for the remainder of the regular season. How he handles the front court minutes will be something to look forward to as he has only two able bodied big men in Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin for the foreseeable future.
-How Will Melo Respond?
Anthony will be playing for the first time in weeks with what is supposedly a healthy knee and will be something to keep an eye on. Anthony says that the knee will not be an issue for the remainder of the season, but saying it is much easier than showing it.
A thing to keep an eye on is how well Anthony lifts on his jump shot. He has struggled with his shooting recently because he has not been able to put much into his jump shot or explode at the rim, making it easy for defenders to stop him. This was most visible on his three point shot, as he made just nine of 44 attempts in eight games before sitting out against the Pistons; before then he was shooting 41 percent from the three point line.
-Home Coming for the Magic
Much like the west coast trip was a walk down memory lane for many of the Knicks, tonight will be a homecoming for many of the Orlando Magic players. Moe Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn are both Queens natives, Tobias Harris is from Long Island and Doron Lamb hails from Brooklyn.
The Knicks cannot allow these players to have big games as the Magic have a lot of young players that are looking to make a name for themselves in the NBA and get roster spots for next season. They also have to watch out for the players that will be looking to put on a show in front of friends and family in the crowd.
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