Pregame: 5 Things to Know - Knicks and Hornets Square Off in Rubber Match to Decide Season Series

1. Dallas secured a 103-95 win over New York on Wednesday night due to a crucial 10-2 fourth quarter run that created enough space in a close contest. Carmelo Anthony was spectacular in the first half where he scored 22 of his 30 points. The Knicks fell to 1-1 on the two-game road trip after topping Indiana on Monday evening and the season series concluded against the Mavericks.

2. Courtney Lee is fresh off a season-high 23-point performance in Dallas on Wednesday night. New York’s shooting guard connected on 9-for-13 from the floor, buried two shots from long distance, and grabbed six boards in arguably his best performance in a Knicks uniform. With Kristaps Porzingis struggling lately, New York will need Lee’s production on both sides of the floor. Lee currently ranks sixth in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 42.9 percent on three attempts per game.

3. Willy Hernangomez continues to impress with extended minutes on the floor. The Rookie is averaging 11.3 points, 11.3 rebounds in 20.5 minutes over his last four outings (did not play against Washington). On Wednesday night, Hernangomez ripped down 16 boards and has snatched double-digit rebounds eight times to go along with two double-double outings in 39 games played this year.

4. For the first time since 2010, the Charlotte franchise will have a representative at Sunday’s midseason showcase. Last night, the league announced the All-Star reserves and point guard Kemba Walker earned a spot on the Eastern Conference squad by averaging career highs in scoring, shooting percentage, and 3-point percentage this season.

5. Tonight is the rubber match between the two teams as New York won the first contest on November 25 and Charlotte returned the favor on its home floor the following night. The Hornets have lost two straight games and seven of their 10. Charlotte is dealing with injuries issues, considering Jeremy Lamb and Cody Zeller are questionable heading into tonight’s contest. New York trails Charlotte by 3.5 games in the latest Eastern Conference standings and the winner of the Friday night tilt will have a possible tiebreaker advantage if the two teams are tied at the end of the regular season.

by Jonah Ballow @jonahballow

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