NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 15th (All times Eastern)
New York Knicks (53-27) at Charlotte Bobcats (19-61), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Knicks know who their first-round playoff opponent will be now that the No. 2 seed in the East is locked up and are making another quick turnaround Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Knicks will have home-court advantage against the rival Boston Celtics when the playoffs commence this weekend and earned the second spot in the conference standings with Sunday's 90-80 victory versus the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks will have home-court advantage in the first two rounds.
Carmelo Anthony needed about 30 minutes (30:13) to post 25 points and sat out the entire fourth quarter with a left shoulder contusion. Knicks coach Mike Woodson said his All-Star forward is fine and said afterward he wants healthy bodies for the postseason. Woodson would have put Anthony back in to secure the win had New York squandered a big lead down the stretch.
Knicks top reserve J.R. Smith scored 15 points and Chris Copeland continued to impress with 20 off the bench as New York won for the 15th time in 16 tries.
The Atlantic Division-champion Knicks forced 26 turnovers and scored 33 points off of Indiana's miscues.
New York is 23-17 on the road this season and will host Atlanta Wednesday in the regular season finale at Madison Square Garden. It's likely the Knicks will rest their main players and give some of the reserves a chance to see more playing time with two games on the docket and their postseason schedule in place.
However, Anthony is in the hunt for a scoring title at 28.7 ppg. Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City is right behind with 28.1 ppg and has captured the honor in each of the previous three seasons.
The lottery-bound Bobcats own the worst record in the NBA, but a good finish could get them out of that spot. They are one game behind the Orlando Magic for the worst record in the league and the Bobcats conclude the season with a home game with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Charlotte got a win its last time out, a 95-85 home victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. The Bobcats claimed a 17-point lead after three quarters and held on to snap a four-game losing streak.
Josh McRoberts, who was acquired at the trade deadline, had a great all-around game with 18 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
"He made some good basketball plays with the pass," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said of McRoberts, "that's the thing. The crowd appreciates that. And also he's a lot more offensive-minded tonight."
Kemba Walker had 21 points, while Bismack Biyombo registered a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Gerald Henderson added 12 points. Bobcats forward Byron Mullens is doubtful Monday with a bruised left elbow.
The Knicks have won five straight against the Bobcats, including the two previous meetings this season. New York is unbeaten in three straight and four of five trips to Charlotte.
04/15 10:26:14 ET