Czar’s Season Update

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Czar’s Playoff Preview


Gameday Dish: Knicks vs. Bulls

New York Knicks v Oklahoma City ThunderThe 51-26 New York Knicks come to the Second City tonight riding high. They’ve won 13 straight games, and Carmelo Anthony is playing the best basketball of his career heading into the playoffs.

Melo’s numbers in April are simply ridiculous. In five April contests so far Anthony is averaging 40.6 ppg and 8.2 rpg while shooting 61.1% from the field and 58.6% from three. He is the first Knick since Bernard King in the 1984-85 season to score at least 35 points in five straight games. In addition, he’s overtaken Kevin Durant as the NBA’s scoring leader, 28.6 ppg to 28.3 ppg.

On Tuesday night Anthony had 36 points, 8 boards and 6 dimes to lead New York to a 120-99 demolition of the Wizards at MSG. With the W, the Knicks clinched the Atlantic Division title for the first time since 1994.

The 42-35 Bulls, on the other hand, have been slumping of late with a great part of this swoon due to a litany of injuries. They are under .500 since the beginning of February and are just 3-3 in their last six contests.

In a humbling 101-98 home loss on Tuesday to the Toronto Raptors, coach Tom Thibodeau was without Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose.  On a positive note, 14th-year veteran SG Richard Hamilton returned on Tuesday after missing the last 19 games with a back issue, and 2nd -year SF Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 28 points in the defeat.

Tonight’s 48 represents the fourth and final regular season meeting between these  playoff-bound squads. The Bulls bested the Knicks in each of the earlier matchups, the last of which was on January 11th in Manhattan. In the 108-101 Bulls victory, Luol Deng led the way with 33 points, while Chicago shot 57% from the field. Anthony put up 39 points, 8 boards and 5 dimes while NY shot only 41% from the field that night.

Both All-Star C Tyson Chandler and PF Kenyon Martin will be out of action tonight for NY.

Tune in to TNT at 8PM ET tonight to see if the Knicks and Melo can continue their red-hot play.

Around the League

MF-Mike and Mike-7MAR2013

Gameday Dish: Lakers vs. Knicks

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers come to Madison Square Garden tonight for their only Manhattan visit this season.

While the Knicks are unexpectedly soaring, the Lakers are surprisingly sputtering.

A lot of colorful plot lines are swirling around this evening’s 48, but none bigger than the turmoil surrounding the 9-13 Lakers’ shocking start and accompanying sniping.

Coming in a close second is Mike D’Antoni’s return to the Garden, where he coached the Knicks from 2008 until March 14th, 2012 when he resigned after going 18-24 and clashing with Carmelo Anthony.

The embattled Laker coach’s guys suffered their worst loss of this early season on Tuesday night in Cleveland, 100-94, bringing LA to 4-8 since D’Antoni took over the reigns.

This third consecutive loss was especially surprising given that Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 42 points, and Dwight Howard corralled a season-high tying 20 boards to go with 19 points.

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
However, for the past five games the Lake Show has been without PF Pau Gasol due to tendinitis in his knees.

Superstar PG Steve Nash and his back-up Steve Blake are also injured and out.

The 16-5 host Knicks have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are the only team in the league still undefeated at home.

New York last played on Tuesday night in Brooklyn, where they bested their outer-borough brethren 100-97.

Melo scored a season-high 45 points, and 39-year old 19th-year PG Jason Kidd hit a key tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24 seconds left.

The Knicks have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games and are scoring 102.6 ppg, 5th best in the league. They lead the NBA in 3-point attempts, averaging 29.4 per game.

Tune in to TNT tonight at 8:00 PM ET to watch two of the NBA’s most storied franchises do battle in the Mecca of basketball.