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New York Takes Walker, Hornets in Charlotte Matchup

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
After playing hero last night in Washington, D.C., Burke and the Knicks hit the road again in Charlotte for a duel with Willy and the Hornets.

The New York Knicks (27–47) take on the Charlotte Hornets (33–41) again after destroying them nine days prior. Both teams sit firmly outside of the playoffs, but on Monday they’ll be playing for something much more valuable the Larry O’Brien Trophy: they’ll be playing for pride.

Just kidding, this game means nothing, but it could still be enjoyable to watch the following matchups.


Frank and Mudiay vs. Kemba

Walker had an off game the last time he faced off against the Knicks. Mainly, it was tough defense from Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina. The Francophones held Walker to a 40 percent field-goal percentage and only two assists. In essence, they locked him in what I like to call “The Bastille.” His subsequent explosion against the Memphis Grizzlies was frightening, but with Frank and Emmanuel’s collective superior size they both may be able to show the NBA that they can lockdown high-caliber point guard. With the exception of an injured Nicolas Batum, the rest of the Hornets guard corps is fairly impotent. If they show enough grit on the defensive end, and use their smarts on offense, the dynamic duo can have a repeat on the back court.

Mudiay was a mixed bag last night in D.C., were he led the team in assists, seven, off the bench, and helped guide the second unit past Washington’s bench, although making some sloppy plays in the meanwhile. Oh well.

Frank, on the other hand, started at the 2 guard position again but couldn’t find his stroke. Head coach Jeff Hornacek found a place on the bench for young Ntilikina at the final stretch of the game, giving playing time for Trey Burke, who saved the game for New York. It’ll take the entire young guard corps from the Knicks to prevent the usual late-game heroics from Kemba Walker.

Williams vs. MKG

Troy Williams has secured a contract with the New York Knicks. His noted energy is a plus, but is his game strong enough to hang with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? In their last meeting, Williams went 6-of-10 as one of the four bench scorers with double digits in points. All in all, it was a good game for him. MKG has never been a potent offensive player, and the incumbent small forward off of the bench, fellow second year man Treveon Graham, isn’t much of an offensive threat either. Williams doesn’t need to do a whole lot besides be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of his opponents’ weaknesses since one they share, shooting, isn’t something the Knicks ask of him often (although Williams hit two triples on Sunday).

Hicks vs. Kaminsky

Besides the win against Charlotte, Isaiah Hicks has been a bit of a mess, he was a “DNP-CD” on Monday versus Washington. If Hicks can outwork Frank Kaminsky, two top college programs thoroughbreds, on the glass and finish in the paint, it would show real growth and maybe even potential for him as a “break in case of emergency” big should the Knicks lose any this summer. Arguably, Hicks is the Knicks only legitimate power forward. He’s a bit undersized, but he wouldn’t fit anywhere else on the court. If he takes notes from fellow forward Troy Williams on bringing energy off the bits he could have another successful game against Charlotte.

Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. EST in Buzz City as the Knicks seek a consecutive victory (while some fans seek more L’s to gain ground on the tanking Chicago Bulls).

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