Derek Fisher will be making a return to Chesapeake Energy Arena tonight when he leads his Knicks into town to face the Thunder at 7 p.m. Here are a few things to keep an eye on in this East vs West matchup.
Carmelo Anthony in OKC
The Knicks only make one trip to Oklahoma City per season, and last year Carmelo Anthony missed the game in Oklahoma City due to injury. Thunder fans (or Knick fans living in OKC) haven’t had the chance to see Melo play in person since February 9, 2014.
Anthony enters Friday’s game averaging 23.1 points per game to go with 7.5 rebounds. It’s debatable to list him among the league’s elite, but the forward out of Syracuse is definitely still an all-star in the NBA.
Kristaps Porzingis the real deal
In last June’s NBA draft, Knicks’ president of basketball operations Phil Jackson took a ton of criticism for selecting Porzingis with the fourth pick in the draft, but it was definitely a move that’s worked out for New York.
Porzingis is currently the favorite to bring home the rookie of the year trophy with averages of 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. Against the Hornets on Tuesday, Porzingis exploded for 29 points and eleven rebounds. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said earlier today that Serge Ibaka would have the primary task of slowing down the Latvian monster.
Speaking of Ibaka…
Air Congo is coming off his worst game of the season on Wednesday against the Hornets when Ibaka hit only 2-of-11 shots and only grabbed five rebounds while missing 50 percent of his free throws. OKC will need a much better showing out of Ibaka on Friday if the Thunder wants to survive this final stretch without Kevin Durant.