Alright, the Piston game didn't go into over time...and NY is no where near as good as the Hornets are, so I think we should be able to win this game, even though some of the guys will be slightly tired.
Payton/Eisley- Ward isn't playing well and has lost his starting spot, and Eisley has done nothing to deserve a starting spot...so it's safe to say both of their pg's aren't doing very well. Eisley is someone you want to play on aback to back night, because you know you don't have to worry about him lighting you up and can lag on D if you have to, because it's not hard to stop him. Payton will be tired after sitting for only 8 minutes in the Piston game, but I think he will still have a decent game; just don't expect him to look to try and score a lot, I think Payton will look to pass a little more...especially to the less tired Shaq and George.
Kobe/Houston- Hopefully Kobe has some energy left, because Houston has been having some very good shooting nights recently, and he will go off for 40+, if Kobe doesn't play some good D and keep up with him. Kobe has to shoot better, he shot very poorly the past couple of games, and has only scored because he has gotten to the line and has been successful there. If Kobe can stay with him, then this will prove to be a great showdown. Both will play good D on each other, and both will be looking to shoot the ball a good bit.
George/Van Horn- George got the most rest out of the starters, and should be ready to go and ready to step up. We are going to need him to have a big game. He is going to have to connect on most of his shots, and be looking to shoot a little more than usual, to take the load off of our big four. Van Horn will get double digits probably, but hopefully George got 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- Thomas has been doing better, since he moved down to his natural position (pf), and has been able to average a double-double. Malone also played a good bit against the Pistons (41 minutes) and he played a good game. Well, he needs to try and shoot the ball as well as he did and he should be looking to shoot as much as he did. He got a season high against the Pistons, they wanted him to look to shoot the ball more, and he did. He needs to do it again. Malone has to crash the boards and prevent Thomas from getting the Knicks second chance baskets and he has to box him out.
Shaq/Deke- This would have been a good matchup...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. Shaq also didn't play as much as Kobe, Payton, and Malone. So Shaq should be fresh and ready to dominate...that is if he stays out of foul trouble.
Bench- look for Fisher Russell to see a good bit of minutes...coming in when Kobe and Payton get tired. Hopefully Walton will play and Phil will keep Rush buried on the bench, not playing him again, unless we get a 30+ point lead. Grant will probably see some minutes, since he had a good (or should I say better than usual) game against the Pistons