With tonight's game you have to keep some things into consideration:
They play the Jazz tomorrow, and will try to rest their main guys, if they get a chance, so this should make it easier on us.
We are playing at home, and have yet to lose a game at home.
Houston may not play, and McDyess is playing hurt.
We will have Malone back, this should be a boost for us.
We have won 9 straight (the only active streak that is that good, Memphis is the closest with 5 straight), I don't think the Knicks will be able to stop that streak.
Payton/Eisley & Ward-
Ward and Eisley are both getting a little of 20 minutes a game. Eisley is someone you don't have to worry about lighting you up and can lag on D if you have to, because it's not hard to stop him. And Ward isn't an explosive scorer either, I doubt the two of them will get any more than a total of 15 points. Payton will have no problem against these 2 and should have a pretty good game, since they are not good defensive pg's.
Kobe/Anderson or Houston-
How easy a victory tonight's game is, depends a lot on whether we will see Houston play. He did not practice yesterday, and is listed as questionable. They say it will be a game time decision, so I guess we just have to wait and see. If he sits, then Anderson will start. He is not something we have to be concerned about, in fact, the last thing he did that's note worthy is-talking smack to MJ last year, which resulted in him getting embarrassed and schooled. If he starts talking crap to Kobe, expect the same thing to happen, why would this happen...because he doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the box. Kobe's performance will also rest a lot on who's guarding him. If it's Anderson, then look for Kobe to have a good night offensively and he will be able to find his shot with ease, along with shutting down Anderson. If Houston is on him, then Kobe won't have quite as good of a night, and will have to play better D, and try harder to get a shot.
George gave us the game winning basket Sunday, let's hope this won't be necessary tonight; but a couple of 3's along with a few other baskets & some rebounds would be nice. Van Horn will get double digits probably, but hopefully George can bother his shot some, get in his face, and not leave him open beyond the arc, if George does this then he will help limit Van Horn's production.
Malone/Thomas & McDyess-
Malone had to sit against the Jazz, and missed playing; tonight...look for him to make up for being out. McDyess will be playing with a hurt knee, the Knicks expect around 22 minutes out of him tonight. Thomas has been averaging a double-double and has been playing well, even with the return of McDyess. Malone has to do a good job of boxing out and out hustling Thomas, because Thomas can and will get a good bit of rebounds, unless someone prevents him from doing so. I think this will be a physical matchup with a lot of battling for position. And Malone won't have much trouble with McDyess because he is playing with a bad knee, and is still trying to get back to his old game.
This would have been a really good matchup, say...3-4 years ago. Now Deke is older and slower. Shaq should be able to push him around, and get to the basket and beat Deke to position every time down the court. Shaq doesn't have to worry about floating to the outside and contesting Deke's shot, because he can't shoot. This will allow Shaq to stay in the paint, get boards, and block some shots. Shaq will be able to get off the ground a lot easier and faster than Deke, so look for Shaq to have a lot more rebounds than Deke, and a lot more points. Last time these 2 met, Shaq was able to get 23 & 6, while Deke only had 2 points & 4 rebounds. This is proof Shaq can dominate and Deke can't do much to stop him. Also Deke will probably get into foul trouble, leaving Doleac to guard Shaq, and allowing Shaq to have even more fun. Look for Shaq to get 25+ points and clsoe to 11 rebounds.