1. The Knicks returned home on Monday night and delivered a resounding 109-95 victory over the Pistons. In the third quarter of action, New York created significant separation on a 15-0 run to start the period, which led to a 20-point advantage. The home team never looked back while snapping a five-game losing skid in the first contest back from the west coast trip. Derrick Rose was the offensive catalyst with a game-high 27 points. Kristaps Porzingis dropped 25 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, and two steals in the win.
2. Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup on Monday after a two-game absence to close the west coast trip. The All-Star scored 21 points on an efficient 8-of-15 shooting from the floor and 3-of-5 behind the arc.
3. Heat shooting guard Dion Waiters is out for Wednesday’s contest due to an ankle injury. An MRI was negative but the productive 2-guard did not make the road trip for games against the Pistons and Knicks. This year, Waiters is averaging 15.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game. Head coach Erik Spolestra has featured a three-guard lineup with Waiters in street clothes. Goran Dragic, Rodney McGruder, and Josh Richardson start next to Luke Babbitt and Whiteside in the five-man opening group.
4. Last night, Miami escaped Detroit with a narrow 97-96 victory behind Hassan Whiteside’s tip-in at the buzzer. Whiteside finished with 17 points and nine boards, Dragic registered a career-high 28 points, and James Johnson posted 16 off the pine. Every win is critical for the Heat as it holds a slight one-game lead over the Bulls for the eighth and final spot for the postseason in the Eastern Conference. Miami owns a 36-38 overall mark heading into Wednesday’s contest against the Knicks.
5. In the first and only meeting between the two teams this year, Anthony scored 35 points in leading New York over the Heat 114-103 on December 6. The Knicks posted 61 points in the second half in Miami to secure the road win. The two teams will face off twice in two days with the season series final set for March 31 in Miami.
by Jonah Ballow