Knicks Try to Secure #7 Seed at Woeful Bobcats in Regular Season Finale

New York Knicks at Charlotte Bobcats
Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina

Thursday, April 26, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: New York -4
Current  Line: New York -5
Opening Total: 189
Current Total: 188
Opening Money Line: Knicks -180 / Bobcats +160
Current Money Line: Knicks -205 / Bobcats +175

Gerald Wallace and the Bobcats will try to avoid becoming the worst team in the history of the NBA as they take on the New York Knicks. Charlotte has lost 22 games in a row.

Even though the 35-30 New York Knicks are tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the #7 seed in the Eastern conference, and need to win to clinch that spot, The Knicks are resting their starters tonight in the regular season finale. It might not matter against the God-awful Charlotte Bobcats who are 7-58 this season. The Bobcats, coached by  Paul Silas, have lost 22 games in a row and will be the worst team by winning percentage in the 63 year history of the NBA with a loss tonight. The Bobcats lost at Orlando last 102-95. Even owner and GM Michael Jordan doesn’t want to watch the team he assembled. On Monday night Jordan was watching the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team get eliminated by the Phoenix Coyotes in the Stanley Cup playoffs in Chicago. While that was happening the Bobcats were getting pummeled 101-73 by the Washington Wizards who have the second worst record in the league with 19 wins.

The Knicks will clinch the #7 seed and a date with the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, with a win  tonight at Charlotte. If the Knicks lose and Philadelphia wins at Detroit tonight then the Knicks will drop to the #8 seed and take on the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks, coached by interim coach Mike Woodson,  won at home last night against the Clippers  99-93. The Knicks had an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter but the Clippers pulled to within 1 with 30 seconds left. The Knicks scored the last 5 points to secure the win. The Clippers were without Chris Paul who sat with a minor groin strain, though he was dressed. New York sat Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire for the entire fourth quarter, and both will miss tonight’s game as well. Jared Jeffries and Tyson Chandler will also miss the game tonight. It leads many to believe the Knicks would almost rather face the Bulls than the Heat, though in my opinion neither match-up is that great for New York.

New York leads the series 2-1 against Charlotte this season. The Bobcats won 118-110 at New York January 4. New York won at home January 9 91-87 and at Charlotte January 24 111-78. Charlotte hasn’t won a game since St. Patrick’s Day, a 107-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors at home.

New York is outscoring opponents 98-95 this season. The Knicks are shooting 44.2% from the field and 33.5% from 3 point range. New York makes 74.3% from the free throw line. The Knicks average 41.9 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of 0. New York averages 20 assists, 16.2 turnovers, 9.5 steals, and 4.2 blocks. Knick opponents are shooting 44.2% from the field and 35.6% from 3 point range. New York forces 17.1 turnovers a game.

Knick forward Carmelo Anthony averages 22.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Forward Amare Stoudemire averages 17.6 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. He missed 14 games down the stretch with a back injury but hopes to play tonight after playing in the last 2 games. Point guard Jeremy Lin is out with a torn meniscus in his knee. He could return for the Playoffs. He averaged 14.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists to lead the team,  and 1.6 steals a game. Guard J.R. Smith averages 11.9 points, 4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 steals a game in 33 games since coming back from playing in China. Center Tyson Chandler averages 11.1 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game to lead the team in the latter two categories. Iman Shumpert averages 9.7 points, and leads the Knicks in steals with 1.7 a game. Jared Jeffries is out with a knee injury.

Charlotte is getting outscored 101-87 this season. The are last in scoring and 27th in points allowed. The Bobcats are shooting 41.4% from the field and 29.3% from 3 points range. Charlotte is last in the league in both categories. The Bobcats make 75% of their free throws. Charlotte is 29th in rebounding averaging 39 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of -6.2. The Bobcats average 20.1 assists, 14.5 turnovers, 6 steals, and 5.4 blocks a game. Charlotte opponents are shooting 47.4% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Bobcats are #29 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #21 in three point defense. Charlotte forces 13.5 turnovers a game.

Charlotte guard Gerald Henderson averages 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 0.9 steals a game. He leads the Bobcats in scoring and steals. Small forward Corey Maggette also averaged 15 points a game but he is out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. Rookie point guard Kemba Walker averages 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists a game. D.J. Augustin averages 11.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 6.4 assists to lead the team. Byron Mullens, Reggie Williams, Derrick Brown, D.J. White, Tyrus Thomas, and Bismack Biyombo also contribute to the scoring. Williams and Brown are both doubtful tonight. Biyombo leads the team in rebounds with 5.9 a game and blocks with 1.8 a game. Forward Eduardo Najera is out for the season with a concussion.

Charlotte is 23-42 ATS and the total is 29-34-2 this season. New York is 35-30 ATS and the total is 27-38 this season. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 7 in this series, and the under is 5-2 in the last 7 played in Charlotte. The Knicks are 7-0 ATS on 0 days rest, 7-1 as a favorite, 6-1 against teams with losing records, 18-6 overall, 16-6 against Eastern Conference teams, 8-3 against Southeast Division teams, 2-6 as a road favorite of 4.5 points or less, and 1-5 as a road favorite. The Bobcats are 17-35-1 at home, 3-7 as an underdog of 4.5 points or less, 2-6 after allowing 100 points or more, 6-18 against teams with winning records, 6-19-1 at home against teams with losing road records, 5-16 on 0 days rest, 1-4 in Thursday games, and against Atlantic division teams, 2-9 as an underdog, 2-10 after a straight up loss, 1-5 after a cover, 2-10 overall, 1-7 as a home dog, and 1-8 against Eastern Conference teams.

This could be an ugly game. Sad to say the Knicks’ scrubs are better than the Bobcats’ starters. Charlotte will treat this like a playoff game as they don’t want to be the worst team ever in the history of the NBA. However, this team is so bad that I don’t think playing hard will be enough.

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