On January 4th, the New York Knicks lost to the Charlotte Bobcats at home by the score of 118-110. The Bobcats shot a season-high 55.3 from the field, with breakout games from Boris Diaw and Gerald Henderson.
After that game, the Bobcats lost their last two and the Knicks have won their last two games during this short season.
Now 4-4, the Knicks believe they should have beat the Bobcats (2-6), and want to prove that tonight.
"We owe them. They came in our place and snuck one out, well we gave them one. So we want to redeem ourselves," Carmelo Anthony said during his press conference.
The Knicks are coming off an electrifying victory over the star-less Detroit Pistons and now have their "swagger" back. They had plenty of dunks and actually passed the ball around consistently with many alley-oops.
Iman Shumpert got his first start of his NBA career, but had three early fouls in the first half. He did dish and swish in the second half, and was really effective for the Knicks in closing the game out.
But most importantly, the Knicks held the Pistons to 37.2 shooting, something they couldn't do against the Bobcats. That will be key if the Knicks want to give payback to the Bobcats for scoring 108 points on them with ease in the last game.
This time, they need to come out and get the early lead and stop switching their man on defense. D'Antoni knows Diaw from his time in Phoenix, so I wouldn't be surprised if Stoudemire and Chandler shut down Diaw in tonight's game.
Defensive specialist, Jared Jeffries is close to returning, but he is doubtful for tonight's game. He will help the Knicks on defense, as he takes more charges then anyone else on the Knicks.
Since beating the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day, the Knicks haven't been over .500. Now is their opportunity against the Bobcats.
This is another statement game for the Knicks. They need everyone to know that they are the team to beat in the East. But most of all, coach D'Antoni needs to prove his offense-happy system actually does work.