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Charlotte Hornets vs. New York Knicks Pick & Prediction MAR 30TH 2022

NBA | BASKETBALL
TV: BSN | NBALP | MSG
Logo Charlotte Hornets
VS
Logo New York Knicks
0
OPENNER
226

-2.5 -110
CURRENT
225.5o -104

-115
MONEYLINE
-105

125
SCORE
114

The New York Knicks' recent surge into the playoff race is bittersweet since it appears to have come too late to extend the season.

But coach Tom Thibodeau is adamant there is value in playing meaningful late-season games for the Knicks, who will try again Wednesday night to do their part to remain in the running for the final Eastern Conference play-in spot when they host the Charlotte Hornets.

Both teams were off Tuesday after playing at home Monday night. The Knicks extended their winning streak to a season-high four games by edging the Chicago Bulls 109-104 and the Hornets fell to the Denver Nuggets 113-109.

The results added a little intrigue to what is shaping up to be a mostly suspense-free race for the final three berths in the play-in tournament. The Knicks (34-42) remained 4 1/2 games behind the 10th-place Atlanta Hawks (38-37), who occupy the final play-in spot, while remaining technically in contention for the eighth and ninth spots as well.

One more loss will likely end any play-in hopes for the Knicks, who will be eliminated from contention by any combination of their own loses and wins by the Hawks that add up to three. It would mark a step backward after the Knicks snapped a seven-year playoff drought last season.

But New York has seven players on the roster 24-years-old or younger, including the trio of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin, who combined for 51 points Monday night. Thibodeau believes battling into late March, and perhaps early April, can pay dividends as the team has won nine of 13 following a seven-game losing streak.

"The big thing is we're playing all these young guys and they're gaining valuable experience," Thibodeau said. "And you're never eliminated until you're eliminated. I don't want a quitting spirit on our team. I want to keep playing. Until we're eliminated, we're going to keep playing."

The final leg of the regular season is vital for the similarly young Hornets, who also have seven players age 24 or younger as they try and snap the longest postseason drought in the East.

Charlotte, which last qualified for the playoffs in 2016, finished in ninth place in the East during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season before finishing in 10th place last year, when it was eliminated from the play-in tournament with a 144-117 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

With six wins in their last eight games, the Hornets have also found success at the right time, though the loss Monday all but ensured they'll have to take the play-in path. Heading into play Tuesday, Charlotte was 4 1/2 games behind Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls, who occupy the final guaranteed playoff spot.

"We're a young team and it's playoff push time," said Hornets forward Miles Bridges, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds Monday. "So we really don't have time for fatigue."

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Charlotte Hornets
113
111
New York Knicks

Charlotte Hornets vs. New York Knicks Recap JAN 17TH 2022

Miles Bridges scored early and often on the way to a career-high 38 points as the visiting Charlotte Hornets drubbed the New York Knicks 97-87 on Monday afternoon.

Bridges shot 14-for-20 from the field, making five 3-pointers, and was 5-for-5 on free throws. He had 28 of Charlotte's first 45 points.

Terry Rozier provided 22 points and Gordon Hayward had 16 points as the Hornets won for the fifth time in their last six games -- the exception coming Friday with a loss to struggling Orlando.

The Hornets won this one without point guard LaMelo Ball, who was listed on the injury report with a non-COVID illness. The team announced he was available to play, but it turns out he wasn't needed.

Rozier picked up some of the play-making duties with seven assists. Bridges was next among the Hornets with five assists.

Charlotte used only eight players, other than a two-minute stretch from Nick Richards. It won despite only a total of seven points from its reserves, with normal super-sub Kelly Oubre Jr. remaining in the league's health and safety protocol.

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett both notched 18 points for the Knicks, who shot 40 percent from the field. Immanuel Quickley had 12 points and Obi Toppin supplied 11 points for New York, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

The Knicks, who finished just 11 of 21 on foul shots, made the final score respectable by finishing the game on a 16-3 run.

Bridges, who also ended up with a team-high 12 rebounds, racked up 22 points in the first quarter. He didn't score in the first four minutes of the second quarter before picking up the offensive pace again.

The Hornets led 62-44 at halftime.

Barrett's 12 rebounds and Randle's 10 boards were tops for New York in that category.

New York finished with 15 turnovers compared to just seven for the Hornets.

--Field Level Media

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