With the New York Knicks unable to improve on, or fall from, their No. 2 seeding in the Eastern Conference, they will travel to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats in what could very well wind up feeling like an exhibition game.
As Stats LLC tells us, Carmelo Anthony is expected to rest for the Monday contest. This is going to leave the Knicks frontcourt shockingly thin, as they already have five frontcourt players who will likely miss this game with injury. And they still might win.
The Bobcats have been terrible this season, and they've been terrible against the Knicks. New York has won the last five games of this matchup by an average of 13.6 points.
Time: Monday, April 15, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C.
Records: New York Knicks (53-27) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (19-61)
Knicks Injury Report (via USA Today)
C Marcus Camby, Foot, Questionable
C Tyson Chandler, Neck, Doubtful
F Kenyon Martin, Ankle, Doubtful
F Amar'e Stoudemire, Knee, Out
F Rasheed Wallace, Foot, Out
Bobcats Injury Report (via USA Today)
F Byron Mullens, Elbow, Questionable
C Brendan Haywood, Ankle, Out
C DeSagana Diop, Knee, Out
G Ramon Sessions, Knee, Out
Knicks Player to Watch: J.R. Smith
With Anthony likely on the shelf for the Knicks, this is going to free up a lot of shots, and J.R. Smith will be more than happy to take them.
At 18.1 points per game, Smith is the Knicks' second-leading scorer, and he's been even better lately, as he is averaging 23 points per game this month.
During that stretch, he is hitting 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, which is especially impressive since he has been taking five shots a game from distance in that span.
It is a safe bet he will take a lot more than that in this one.
Bobcats Player to Watch: Gerald Henderson
The Bobcats haven't had a lot to feel good about as this season has rolled along, but the improved play of Gerald Henderson has been one.
He got off to a tough start this year, but he's been better since the All-Star break.
He averaged 20.1 points per game in March. He's fallen off a bit this month, as he is averaging 16.3 points per game in April, and he is struggling with his shot.
However, if the Bobcats are going to find success, it will likely start with Henderson.
Prediction: Knicks 104, Bobcats 97
I know the Knicks are going to be supremely shorthanded for this game, but I can't in good conscience pick the Bobcats.
They will find a way to blow this opportunity and let their season limp to a finish.
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