STARTING LINEUPS & INJURIES
Paul Westphal hasn't actually hinted he'll change the starting lineup, though Ailene Voisins has reported as such. If he does, I would expect Francisco Garcia to enter the starting five, more likely for Omri Casspi than Beno Udrih. (I think Garcia in, Beno out would be good, though.) Tyreke Evans will definitely start at some position, with Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert up front. Dalembert will be assigned to guard Amar'e Stoudemire.
Joining Stoudemire in the Knicks' starting five should be (based on Tuesday's game) Raymond Felton, Landry Fields and Danilo Gallinari. The fifth starter could be Timofey Mozgov (nine starts) at center or Wilson Chandler (two starts) at power forward, with Amar'e graduating to center. Ronny Turiaf could also get a surprise start at center, if Mike D'Antoni feels he needs a better defender than Stoudemire to guard Landry.
I implore you to check out HighTops' scouting report. My own follows.
The Knicks are a classic D'Antoni team with one serious obstruction: they are arctic cold from deep. Gallinari is a fine shooter currently at 30% on threes this year; that will change, as will the team's fortunes. Chandler is also likely a better shooter than his current play suggests, and Azubuike will help upon his return. Roger Mason probably deserves a look, too.
The Knicks haven't been bad defensively. The team does a good job creating turnovers, rebounding (a minor shock) and, like most D'Antoni teams, doesn't foul too much. The shot defense is bad, which could be good for the Kings, who haven't been hitting a great deal of their shots lately.
To me, the key is (as always?) attacking the rim. With the guards, with the bigs -- own the paint. New York had a much different roster last January, but I think we all remember Evans turning Madison Square Garden into his personal layup line. We need that energy and attempted domination from the get go.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Stoudemire vs. Dalembert. Amar'e is the only Knick who can threaten the Kings in the paint. If Dalembert can slow him down, make him inefficient, or push him away from the rim, it's going to be really hard for the Knicks to blow up, lest they hit all their threes. (And everyone knows the Kings don't struggle defensively on the perimeter, right?)
PLAYER TO WATCH
Tyreke Evans, because he's fun to watch, and because if the Kings have no interest in winning, we might as well watch that which entertains us.
7 PM tip at ARCO. Cheap tickets available. Comcast SportsNet and KHTK 1140 AM have the call. Aykis will be delivering the recap, with a View from Section 214 to follow tomorrow. Game threads at 7 and 8:30. Let's go Kings!