The New York Knicks seek their first five-game winning streak in nearly four years when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. Behind 30 points from Michael Beasley - playing in place of the injured Kristaps Porzingis - the Knicks rolled to a 111-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday to notch their longest run of the season at four games.
Porzingis is day-to-day with a lingering knee issue and New York won for the first time in five tries without him in the lineup. “I think the guys just, they were ready for tonight’s game,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters. “And we caught them after a triple-overtime game so that probably helped us too, but our guys played hard all night which probably wore them down.” The Hornets have often appeared worn down of late, losing three straight and 10 of their last 12. Point guard Kemba Walker’s shooting slump continued with a 7-for-26 showing in Saturday’ 93-91 home loss to Portland.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN Southeast (Charlotte)
ABOUT THE KNICKS (16-13): Beasley wasn’t the only player to step up in Porzingis’ absence as three of New York’s reserves - center Kyle O’Quinn, forward Doug McDermott and guard Ron Baker - combined for 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting to help the Knicks coast in Carmel Anthony’s return to Madison Square Garden. “The game was kind of about him,” McDermott told reporters. “I think we did a great job of not letting that distract us.” Courtney Lee added 20 points and the veteran shooting guard has 47 while making 6-of-10 3-pointers over the last two games.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (10-19): Charlotte opened 7-2 at home but dropped six of its last seven at the Spectrum Center, including five straight. Walker is shooting 31.7 percent from the field during the three-game slide and he missed all nine of his 3-point tries in Saturday’s loss while dealing with a wrist injury. “Kemba obviously had a rough night, but he gutted it out,” associate head coach Stephen Silas - who continues to fill in for the ailing Steve Clifford - said of Walker. “The plays that he had down the stretch, I wouldn’t want the ball in anybody else’s hands.”
1. Beasley is averaging 14.5 points on 52.7 percent shooting in 20.5 minutes in December.
2. Charlotte SG Nicolas Batum made 5-of-9 3-pointers against Portland after starting the season 12-for-54 from beyond the arc.
3. The Hornets have won the last six meetings with the Knicks at home.
PREDICTION: Knicks 106, Hornets 104