Bobcats-Knicks Preview

After a tough loss to begin their four-game road trip, the New
York Knicks couldn’t have closed it out much better. They’re just
hoping that momentum will mean something at Madison Square
Garden.

The Knicks have dropped three straight at MSG, but after a
successful visit to California they can pick up their fourth
consecutive win in Tuesday night’s opener of a home-and-home set
with the Charlotte Bobcats.

New York (6-8) dropped its sixth straight overall last Tuesday
in Denver, where it fell behind by as many as 16 points early in
the fourth quarter.

The Knicks rallied, however, and though they still lost 120-118,
their late surge carried over. Danilo Gallinari and Amare
Stoudemire scored 27 apiece in a 113-106 win at Sacramento on
Wednesday, Raymond Felton led the way with 35 points and 11 assists
in a 125-119 victory over Golden State on Friday, then Gallinari
and Stoudemire were at it again Saturday.

The duo combined for 70 points – 45 after halftime – in a
124-115 win against the struggling Los Angeles Clippers.

“It was like a video game,” Stoudemire said after scoring a
season-high 39. “… The positive from this is that we’re on a
three-game winning streak and our chemistry’s now starting to come
together. We showed how good we can be and what it takes to win,
and we’re showing winning qualities. We’ve just got to keep it
going.”

It was the first time the Knicks won three games in California
on the same trip, and coach Mike D’Antoni’s team improved to 5-4 on
the road.

New York is just 1-4 at MSG, though, largely due to its
inaccuracy from beyond the arc. The Knicks are hitting an NBA-worst
26.0 percent of their 3-pointers at home, while they’ve knocked
down 38.9 percent on the road.

They’re 5-0 when they hit 40 percent or more from 3, and 1-8
otherwise.

Stoudemire’s production has been consistent regardless of venue,
but that hasn’t been true for his teammates. Felton, who will be
facing the Bobcats (5-8) for the first time after spending his
first five seasons with Charlotte, is averaging 19.3 points and
shooting 50.4 percent on the road as opposed to 14.2 points and
41.3 percent at home.

Gallinari’s differences have been even worse. He’s averaged 25.4
points and hit 43.2 percent of his 3-pointers in his last five road
games. In the Knicks’ five home games, he’s averaged 12.8 points
and shot 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.

Perhaps Charlotte will be better served by playing at New York’s
up-tempo pace on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bobcats’ 73.2
field-goal attempts per game are the league’s fewest, but they
seemed invigorated running the floor with Phoenix on Saturday.

It helped that the Suns didn’t have Steve Nash. Charlotte took a
season-high 87 shots and hit a season-best 57.5 percent, getting
the first triple-double in franchise history from Stephen Jackson
(24 points, 10 boards, 10 assists) to lead the way to a 123-105
win.

“We knew that we could attack the rack and be aggressive, and we
knew if we played defense we could beat these guys,” said Jackson,
who’s averaged 26.0 points and hit 51.4 percent from 3-point range
in his last four games.

Jackson’s two trips to MSG with Charlotte haven’t been as
memorable. He shot 36.6 percent as the Knicks won each meeting by
four points behind 26.5 points per game from Wilson Chandler.