The Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks will face-off in a pivotal matchup Monday night that could be huge in deciding who gets the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the Knicks, point guard Jeremy Lin and power forward Amare Stoudemire are questionable for the matchup.
Lin reportedly felt pain in his right knee during New York’s win over the Detroit Pistons Saturday night while Stoudemire is dealing with stiffness in his back. Lin has yet to miss a game after taking over as a starter while Stoudemire has only missed two due to an injury. He also previously missed some time when his brother died in a car accident.
The Knicks can in no way have both star players miss the game against the Bucks. New York only leads Milwaukee by one and a half games and has already lost to them twice this season. The Bucks won the first meeting in New York 100-86 before the rise of Linsanity and defeated them again in Milwaukee 119-114 on March 9 which jump started their season-high six-game winning streak.
The Knicks and Bucks will only face each other one more time after tonight’s matchup on April 11 in Milwaukee. Both teams have difficult schedules between now and then which means it will be a fair fight to the finish.
I believe it is safe to say if Lin and Stoudemire are unable to suit up against the Bucks the Knicks will have a very hard time winning the game. Since acquiring Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh in a trade with the Golden State Warriors, the Bucks have been playing a lot better while distributing the ball well in an unselfish form of basketball.
New York will be losing a combined 32.2 points and 11.1 rebounds without both players in the lineup. The Knicks simply do not have the bench to overcome those numbers which means they must figure out a way to stop Milwaukee’s newly resurrected offense.