Knicks Head to Orlando to Battle the Magic in a Tank-Off

Happy Tank Season!

Photo: Fernando Medina/NBAE

Tonight is a key match-up for the Knickerbockers in the closing stretch of #TankSZN as they’ll take on Orlando, the team currently in control of the fourth overall lottery spot.

A loss tonight would put New York only one game behind Orlando’s number four spot, and potentially put them in sole control of the fifth spot in the lottery if the 76ers beat the Bucks later on tonight.

A win however, would put the Knicks five games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, which is currently held by the Pistons.

Here are a few notes on tonight’s game:

Photo: Jim McIsaac
  • Carmelo Anthony will miss his second game of the season with a sore left knee. It’s not yet known who will start in his place, but hopefully we see either Kuzminskas get the nod at small forward or Ron Baker start at two-guard with Courtney Lee moved to the three. The more Ron Burgundy, the better.
  • Due to a sore achilles, Nikola Vucevic will not suit up for the Magic tonight. Vucevic has averaged 14.4 points per game on 47 percent shooting this season for Orlando.
  • Following a bit of a rough stretch Kristaps Porzingis had a nice game on Sunday against the league’s other super team, shooting well and playing great interior defense. KP was one of the primary reasons New York was able to keep up with Golden State throughout most of the game, and if he can play similarly tonight against the injured Magic, then the Knicks will have a decent shot at getting a win tonight.
  • Derrick Rose had one of his best games as a Knick on Sunday, putting up 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting. While the defense wasn’t there and he missed open teammates a few times, Rose did a lot of things well in terms of scoring. Look for Rose to try to take advantage of Carmelo not being there to take extra shots and look to score like he did yesterday on the young Magic defense.
  • With Carmelo sitting and tonight’s game definitely not a must-win for New York, tonight would be a good time to give Chasson Randle extended minutes for the first time in his Knicks career. Randle’s played a total of one minute in three games and has yet to record a field-goal attempt.
  • Tonight’s game tips at 7pm ET and will be televised on MSG.

Peter Saclarides, senior writer

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