• Sun. May 26th, 2024

November 27, 2015, Queens, NY  Tonight, New York basketball resumes (we’re talking pro hoops), and so do the hopes of fans that are optimistic in one corner of the city and anxious in another corner (of the city).

The Knicks are 8-8,opti mism is high, and that sentiment is directly attributable to rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis. They find themselves two games behind the first-place Toronto Raptors (10-6) and one-half game behind the Boston Celtics (8-7). Trailing the Knicks are their crosstown rivals who are 3-12, and the Philadelphia 76ers (0-16) who are leading the league in the race for the number one overall pick in the next NBA Draft.

The Miami Heat, led by perennial all-stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, come to town. The duo are making over $42 million this season and don’t have to pay state tax. But enough about their finances. The Heat are atop the Southeast Division at 9-5. Bosh and Wade lead the team in scoring averaging 17.3 and 17.2 point per game. Hassan Whiteside is their team leader in rebounds, averaging 11.2 boards per game. As for their team chemistry, the Heat have adjusted to “Life without Lebron.” No longer are they favorites to get to the Finals, but expect them to get to the second round (at the very least) and probably the Eastern Conference Finals. They beat the Knicks on Monday (Nov. 23) 95-78.

The Knicks are led in scoring by Carmelo Anthony (22.8 ppg). Kristaps Porzingis is the team leader in rebounds (9.1 rpg) and blocks (1.8 bpg). Jose Calderon is the assists leader (3.4 apg).

On the road, the Knicks are 5-4, and at home, they are 3-4. The expectation is they will start winning at home, and tonight is as good a time as any to begin. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Knicks would be on the outside looking in being seeded 10th in an eight-team race. Their division rival Celtics and Detroit Pistons are both ahead of them. Last season, the Eastern Conference sent teams to the playoffs that weren’t even .500 teams. This season it appears that there will be at least one team with a .500 or better record that won’t make it.

The Knicks should be well-rested and well-fed after yesterday’s holiday festivities. They have a spring in their step that wasn’t evident last season, and the Madison Square Garden crowd is smitten with Porzingis. Expect a highly contested game tonight. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m. (EST).

Professor Clifford Benton can be reached at @cliffordbenton.

By Vernon McKenzie

Graduate of New Institute Of Technology with a BA in Communications with a focus on Television Radio. Owner and Executive Producer of PureSportsNY

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