- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s Knicks-Bobcats game:
No Bargs, no problem? With Andrea Bargnani out, the Knicks and Mike Woodson may be forced to go back to the small, two point guard lineup that worked well for them last season.
This will allow Carmelo Anthony to play power forward, which he did for much of last season while leading the NBA in scoring. Anthony, though, has played well at just about any position this year. He’s the second-leading scorer in the NBA and is averaging a career-high 9.0 rebounds per game.
The problem with the Bargnani injury is that it exposes the Knicks’ lack of depth along the front line.
Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin are out with ankle injuries and aren’t expected to be back until Feb. 1. Metta World Peace is likely out until Tuesday, but may be motivated to come back sooner due to the Bargnani injury.
It will be interesting to see how the Knicks replace Bargnani’s scoring. He was the team’s second-leading scorer with 13.3 points per game. Will the Knicks get more points from J.R. Smith? Iman Shumpert? Tim Hardaway Jr.? The Bargnani injury also may give Woodson more time to turn things around, depending on how Knick management views the situation.
Stopping the skid? The Knicks are 0-3 on their current 8-game homestand and have lost five in a row. With questions surrounding Woodson’s job status mounting after each loss, the coach is desperate to stop all of the losing and try to get things turned around.
Charlotte is the latest team under .500 to invade the Garden. The Knicks have a six-game stretch at home against teams under .500. They’ve lost the first two.
The Bobcats, coached by former Knicks assistant Steve Clifford, have won two straight since point guard Kemba Walker went down.
Walker crushed the Knicks in two games earlier this season, averaging 25 points per game. Al Jefferson has picked up the slack by scoring 26.5 points and pulled down 12.5 rebounds in his last six games.
Defense rests? The Knicks have been awful on defense during their losing streak. New York has given up an average of 109.4 points on 48.0 percent shooting -- 39.5 from 3-point range – over the last five games.
Woodson’s defensive schemes have come under fire during the streak. It will be interesting to see if the numbers improve with Bargnani out.
The Knicks were outscored by 3.3 points per 48 minutes with Bargnani on the bench and were outscored by 4.7 points per 48 minutes when he was on the floor.
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