This Sunday the New Orleans Hornets head to New York’s Madison Square Garden to face the Knicks. New Orleans (11-25) has been red hot recently, winning their last four games, while New York (23-13) has been on a downslide, losing the previous three. The Knicks have been playing without some key players; the Hornets have regained a full roster.
New York is without point guard Raymond Felton, who fractured his right pinkie finger on Christmas Day when he collided with the Lakers’ Steve Nash. Felton, who averaged 15.8 points and 6.3 assists, is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks.
"We miss Raymond," said Anthony to ESPN. "We miss him pushing the tempo of the game. There’s a lot of things that when he was playing we were getting [and] we’re not getting right now. When we have different guys in the lineup, the games change."
Last Thursday, against the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks were short Carmelo Anthony. He was suspended for one game because of a verbal altercation with Celtics center Kevin Garnett after their recent match-up.
Without consistency, the Knicks have suffered from poor offensive production, shooting 38.8% from the field. Their production from the three-point line has also started to wane, and success from downtown has been a large part of their offensive assault. In their season opener against the Miami Heat the Knicks drained 19 3-pointers, with 52.8% success. During November, the Knicks were shooting 41.6% from outside, but have slid down to 36.8%.
The Knicks defense boasts former Hornets’ center Tyson Chandler, who was named last year's NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
The Hornets’ keys to success lie in their defense. They need to keep New York in a funk. In their victories, the Bees have limited all their opponents to less than 100 points. They also average 7.8 steals, 5.5 blocks, and 29.6 defensive rebounds in their wins.