5 Things to Know: Knicks Look for 3 Straight Wins at MSG (Porzingis out)

1. The Knicks completed the seasons series sweep of the Bulls on Tuesday night at MSG. Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup after missing two games to help ignite New York’s offense in the 100-91 victory. The Knicks outscored Chicago 25-16 in the second frame to create the necessary separation and notch the win that improved their home mark to 18-20 on the season. In the win, Courtney Lee scored 14 points, Justin Holiday added 12, and Kyle O’Quinn ripped down 12 rebounds.

2. Kristaps Porzingis did not suit up for Tuesday’s contest against the Bulls. The second-year man was sidelined due to a sore back and his status is unclear for tonight’s game. Yesterday, Derrick Rose underwent uncomplicated left knee arthroscopy for a medical meniscus tear. The point guard is expected to have a full recovery and begin basketball activities in approximately 3-6 weeks. Chasson Randle’s minutes were limited due to a sprained left ankle on Tuesday. He is unlikely to suit up tonight.

3. Head coach Jeff Hornacek adjusted his starting lineup on Tuesday to counter Porzingis’ absence. Maurice Ndour earned the starting nod with a special guest watching from the stands. For the first time in the United States, Ndour’s mom was able to attend a game live and she was treated to a standout performance from her son. Ndour registered 33 minutes, hit 5-of-9 shots from the floor, scored 13 points, and grabbed 12 boards.

4. Two nights ago, John Wall and company lifted the Wizards to a 118-111 win to effectively snap a three-game slide. Thursday’s tilt at the Garden is a crucial contest for Washington as it attempts to tie Toronto for the third spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have clinched the division title and will now fight for playoff positioning with four games remaining in the regular season. While Washington owns one of the best records since the All-Star break, the team has struggled on the defensive side of the floor with the 27th ranked defensive rating in the league.

5. The Wizards are 3-0 against the Knicks this season. The two meetings to start the year were close in the final box score as Washington won the first game 119-112 before a three-point win in the second matchup. The final score in the meeting was a bit skewed considering New York scored a remarkable 47 points in the fourth quarter. In the second contest, the Knicks were narrowly defeated after posting 40 points in the second period and outscored Washington 24-13 in the final quarter. On January 31, the Wizards cruised to a 117-101 win behind Bradly Beal’s 28 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the floor. Tonight’s game is the final meeting between the two teams this season.

by Jonah Ballow

NYKnicks.com @jonahballow

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