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- The Knicks, nearly three weeks removed from their incredible 6-0 start to the 2012-2013 season, are still one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They enter tonight’s game against the Bobcats riding a three-game winning streak, still lead the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division by one and 1/2 games over the Brooklyn Nets, are 8-1 this season against Eastern Conference teams and are one of two teams in the league that are undefeated at home (7-0). The other is defending NBA champion Miami.
- The Bobcats, on the other hand, are in a slump after a surprisingly solid start. Charlotte was 7-5 after a 108-106 overtime win over the Washington Wizards on Nov. 24 – equaling the number of wins the Bobcats had last season – but they have since lost four straight. The last was probably their most embarassing, blowing an 18-point fourth-quarter lead before losing in overtime to the Portland Trail Blazers 118-112 on Monday.
- The odds are mixed on the Bobcats ending that losing streak tonight – while they’re 13-16 all-time against the Knicks and have lost their last three meetings, Charlotte is 9-6 against them at Time Warner Cable Arena.
- While the Knicks are without forward/center Amar’e Stoudemire, still recuperating from work done on his left knee, and guard Iman Shumpert (torn ACL and meniscus), they will get former NBA All-Star guard Jason Kidd back in the lineup after he missed the last four games with lower back spasms. However, center Marcus Camby will miss his fourth straight game because of a sore left foot.
- Meanwhile, the Hornets enter tonight’s game relatively healthy, with only one player – forward Tyrus Thomas (strained left calf) – out of the lineup. Guard Gerald Henderson saw his first action Monday, playing nearly 15 minutes against the Blazers after missing 14 games recuperating from a sprained left foot. Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap said those minutes should increase tonight against the Knicks.
- Knicks starting lineup: Carmelo Anthony, Kurt Thomas, Tyson Chandler, Ronnie Brewer, Raymond Felton.
- Guard Ben Gordon continues to set records for the Bobcats. He set his first franchise record with a 34-point effort off the bench in a loss to New Orleans on Nov. 9, and tacked on four more in Monday’s loss to the Trail Blazers. Gordon hit eight 3-pointers in the 118-1112 overtime loss, seven coming in the second half and five in the third quarter –- all franchise records -– and his 18 3-pointers over the last three games is the most in Bobcats history.
- Bobcats starting lineup: Brendan Haywood, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Byron Mullens, Jeff Taylor, Kemba Walker.
– Bill Kiser