The New York Knicks have a rich history and even more pride, and one can bet they do not want to be the team that enables Charlotte to halt its franchise-record 22-game losing streak tonight.
The playoff-bound Knicks will close out the regular season at Time Warner Cable Arena and are even with Philadelphia for the last two spots in the Eastern Conference standings. They own the tiebreaker over the 76ers, who will visit Detroit tonight before prepping for the postseason.
New York has won two in a row, four of five and improved to 17-6 since Mike Woodson took over as head coach with last night's 99-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers from Madison Square Garden. J.R. Smith scored 21 points off the bench and Carmelo Anthony added 17 for New York, which got 14 points from three-point specialist Steve Novak and shot 46.8 percent.
"My whole thing is to win," said Knicks center Tyson Chandler. "We win out and let the cards fall where they will."
The Knicks scored 23 points off 14 LA turnovers and will try to work on their 13-19 road ledger this evening.
Charlotte may be ending an ugly season, but has plenty to play for Thursday.
Mired in a franchise-record 22-game slide, the Bobcats hope to avoid setting an NBA mark for the lowest single-season winning percentage and their current losing streak is the longest since Cleveland dropped an NBA-worst 26 in a row from Dec. 20, 2010-Feb. 9, 2011.
Assured of having the worst record in the league, the Bobcats are in line to finish with a .106 winning percentage, which would be worse than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who finished 9-73 for a winning percentage of .110.
The Bobcats suffered their 11th loss in a row on the road with Wednesday's tough 102-95 setback at division-rival Orlando. D.J. Augustin had 23 points and Gerald Henderson netted 17 for Charlotte, which shot 44.3 percent and got 16 points from Derrick Brown.
"I think everything is settled right now. (The Knicks) have their spot and Orlando has their spot so New York ... we'll see who they play," Bobcats head coach Paul Silas said on the team's website. "If we play the way we did tonight, I think we have a chance."
Charlotte is winless in its last 13 home games and is just 4-28 as the host. It hasn't won since a March 17 home victory over Toronto, and is 1-2 against the Knicks this season.