On the day after Thanksgiving, the Charlotte Hornets had an opportunity to walk away from Madison Square Garden with another victory. Unfortunately, they walked away as losers after giving up a lead late in the game and being outplayed in overtime by the New York Knicks. On Saturday, the two teams will have a rematch in Carolina, as reported by ESPN.
After a three-game winning streak, the New York Knicks all of a sudden find themselves with a winning record. They are sitting on an 8-7 record, which puts them third in the Atlanta Division. With a victory on Saturday night over the Charlotte Hornets, the Knicks might actually start believing that they can catch up to the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors, two Eastern Conference teams that are expected to be in the NBA Playoffs again this season.
For the Charlotte Hornets, Saturday night is not just an opportunity to avenge a loss to the New York Knicks. They need the victory to stop their four-game losing streak. The team started the regular off pretty hot, turning heads in the NBA for seemingly looking like a better team despite losing some players from their roster over the summer. They are now sitting on an 8-7 record, which puts them in second place in the Southeast Division behind the Atlanta Hawks.
The Charlotte Hornets are going to have to try to get the victory without two of their key contributors in the rotation.
Nicolas Batum will not be available. He is being forced to sit out due to an eye injury. Batum is one of the more versatile members of the Charlotte Hornets, so they will not have him as an offensive threat against the New York Knicks. Backup guard Jeremy Lamb is most likely going to take his place in the starting lineup. Though a solid player, Lamb will not force the Knicks defense to focus on him as much as Batum would have.
Marvin Williams is another player that will not be available for the Charlotte Hornets. The veteran forward has resurrected his career by figuring out how to best be a role player. Williams suffered a bone bruise in his knee, and there is a chance that he might be forced to miss about a week of action. Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes could be given more minutes by Hornets head coach Steve Clifford while Williams gets himself back to health.
During the game on Friday night, Carmelo Anthony excited the audience at Madison Square Garden by hitting a last second shot to give the New York Knicks the victory over the Charlotte Hornets. He is going to be a very tough defensive assignment on Saturday night, especially since the Hornets are depleted by injuries.
Another person that the Charlotte Hornets will need to figure out is Kristaps Porzingis. The second-year forward from Latvia is showing even more superstar potential this season. Porzingis is now capable of scoring more than 30 points, something that he has done a couple of times this month. The Hornets will need to make sure that it does not happen on Saturday night if they want to walk away with the victory.
The big key battle tonight will be at the point guard position, where Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose are set to do battle. Walker is currently performing as one of the best offensive players in the NBA. Rose, on the other hand, is starting to get more comfortable with the New York Knicks. If Rose is playing with a chip on his shoulders, then fans might get to enjoy an entertaining shootout between the two players.
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]