The Knicks are returning home after two brutal losses on the road this past week.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday… unless you’re an Eagles or Patriots fan. In that case I hope both of you lose.

The Knickerbockers (23-30) are back in action today at MSG in a matinee affair against the Atlanta Hawks (15-37). New York is looking to pick up a win against the owners of the worst record in the league after losing two in a row on a mini road-trip.

The Knicks are currently 4.5 games out of a playoff spot, and continue to stray further and further from a postseason berth. With the trade deadline approaching, the direction of New York’s season will be determined in the next few days depending on what the front office does to shake up the roster, if anything. Fortunately, it seems like the Knicks are intent on holding on to assets rather than trying to win now, something past front offices haven’t done in years.

With that being said, let’s take a look at a few notes surrounding today’s matchup.

  • Today’s game is the last time these teams will meet this season. This is the rubber match, as both teams have won a game thus far.
  • KP hasn’t been able to score well recently, and that has taken its toll on the team. Without their number one option producing, the Knicks have looked lost on offense at times, with no consistent option to give it to when they need a bucket.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. has struggled as of late as well, shooting 2-24 from the field in the last two games. When THJ is unable to help carry the scoring load, the New York offense falls flat, much like we’ve seen recently. The Knicks’ ability to win games depends largely on how efficient they are offensively, and when both the first and second option aren’t contributing as much as usual, it makes it difficult to compete with anyone.
  • New York’s stagnant offense has been the cause of their troubles since late December, when Hardaway Jr. went down with an injury. However, even with Timmy back in the lineup, the ‘Bockers have yet to see any significant improvement in their offense. New York is currently 17th in offensive rating in the Association, a standing that has seemingly been dropping a bit each week. In their last two games, they’re averaging only 81.5 points scored, evident of how terrible this Knicks offense can really be.
  • A key matchup to watch out for is Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kent Bazemore. Shooting guard is one of both Atlanta and New York’s stronger positions. After a rough last few games, watch out for THJ to look to take advantage of the league’s worst defense to get himself back on track.
  • Following today’s match-up the Knicks will face an increasingly hard schedule, with seven of their next ten games coming against current playoff teams, including the Warriors. At least it’ll help the tank.

A win for New York would bring them within four games of Philly’s eighth spot, while a loss would drop them to 11th in the East and put them five games out of a top 5 spot in the lottery.

Tip-off for today’s game is set for 12:00 ET.