New York Knicks: The 3 most important upcoming games

New York Knicks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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GAME 1: Charlotte Hornets @ New York Knicks, 1/17/22

Opponent Breakdown:

In their annual MLK day game, the Knicks will welcome the Charlotte Hornets to MSG in a game that will prove to be a test for the orange and blue. As of January 13th, New York is tied with the Mavericks for last in the league in pace of play. The Hornets, on the other hand, are 4th in the league and pace and feature a high octane offense that includes Lamelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier.

That young trio of players not only can score and shoot at a high level but they average a combined 14.7 assists as well which makes up for more than half of their assists per game as a team. Charlotte also features veteran Gordon Hayward who most recently scored 31 against the 76ers while shooting 4-4 for behind the arc.

Last Meeting:

This will be the second time these two teams meet this season as Charlotte won the first meeting back on November 12th 104-96. The Knicks were led by Kemba Walker (who they hope to have back for the game) in that one as he scored 26 in his return to Charlotte. Both Julius Randle and RJ Barrett struggled shooting a combined 5-24 as their struggles proved to be costly.

For the Hornets Bridges and Hayward combined for 46 points while Ball collected a career-high 17 rebounds.

Key to Victory:

The one thing the Hornets severely lack is a true big. Mason Plumlee has been their most consistent starter and his rebounding numbers are down from last year despite playing similar minutes. If Mitchell Robinson can continue to dominate the paint as he has, that will provide the Knicks with a major interior advantage.

Additionally, Randle and Barrett are almost guaranteed to have better games than they did in the last matchup between these two teams. Take that and combine it with the MSG crowd and New York should find themselves with a great chance to win.