Knicks folding under injuries
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
A quick look at the eight-game NBA schedule for Sunday, March 17, ranking each game by watchability (all times p.m. Eastern):
MUST-WATCH: New York Knicks (38-25) at Los Angeles Clippers (45-21), 3:30, ABC
Carmelo Anthony is questionable. Tyson Chandler is questionable. The Knicks’ play lately is questionable. The unquestionable thing is that New York better get its act together quickly. The Knicks, losers of four of their past five, are not far from losing control of the Atlantic Division to their in-city rival Brooklyn Nets, which would potentially put them in a playoff matchup with the Chicago Bulls, who might have Derrick Rose back by then. It’s a sticky situation, one the Knicks don’t want to be in. But without their three best players (Amar’e Stoudemire is out until May with a knee injury), the Knicks are helpless against a team as good as the Clippers.
And Los Angeles needs this win, having lost three of its past five. The Clippers have their own seeding aspirations to worry about, with a half-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets not likely to stand if this downslide continues. But Blake Griffin is fresh off his 24th birthday and won’t let that happen. This game, the only nationally televised one on college’s Selection Sunday, could be telling and will be compelling. There’s nothing questionable about that.
2. Golden State Warriors (37-30) at Houston Rockets (36-30), 7
This is one of those games that help decide playoff races, and the Warriors are feeling enough pressure that their star player is ripping the jerseys.
3. Sacramento Kings (23-43) at Los Angeles Lakers (35-32), 9:30
The last game of the night comes with the biggest speculation, over the health of Kobe Bryant. It’s not looking good. The Lakers don’t need him or power forward Pau Gasol, who said he wanted to be back either Sunday or Monday, to win.
4. Atlanta Hawks (36-29) at Brooklyn Nets (38-27), 8
A Nets win and Knicks loss gives Brooklyn a share of the division lead, which would make Jay-Z very happy.
5. Miami Heat (50-14) at Toronto Raptors (26-40), 1