Friday, November 9, 2007

Preview: Knicks vs. Magic

The Knicks (2-1) meet the Orlando Magic (4-1) tonight at Madison Square Garden. A big game for both teams hoping to improve upon last year. The Knicks won two of three meetings last year.

Things to watch:

Curry vs. Howard: A meeting of two, young big men who seem likely to be vying for the same spot on the All-Star team for years to come. Howard got the nod last year but he also was entirely dominated by Curry in early February shortly after the selections were made public. Curry dropped 27 on Howard and the Magic and lead the Knicks to victory that night. If both players can continue to develop this has the potential to be a great rivalry a la Shaq/Zo in the late 1990s.

Q: Does he start? I think so. Does he make his presence felt? I think not but I hope so.

Renaldo Balkman: Can games like his monster performance against Denver propel Balkman ahead of Lee into the Sixth-Man role? Or could he start ahead of Q? In a starting line-up with five scorers it wouldn't be so crazy to start Balkman at the 3 just to play D on the other team's best player. Will he get a shot to defend Rashard Lewis tonight? Listed at 6-10, Lewis is taller than Balkman (and Carmelo) so it would be a good test. If he can handle this guy then it's hard to keep him on the bench. Even if he were to move into the starting lineup you'd still have Nate and Lee as your set of sparkplugs to bring in (along with Q who could give the second unit a veteran presence and an outside threat) off the bench.

Home-Court Advantage: We're 2-0 at home. The Garden woke up Tuesday night. Let's build on this. Starting tonight and continuing against the struggling Heat on Sunday.

Tonight the role of Daniel Gibson will be played by....Hedo Turkoglu

Playoff Implications: Gosh, it is way too early to be talking about playoff seeding but these two squads were fighting for that last spot up until the Knicks injury-riddled tailspin ended their chances. If the Knicks had stayed close they would have owned the tiebreaker between the two sides.

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