Venue: Madison Square Garden
A visit from one of the Western Conference's worst teams would appear to give the New York Knicks a prime opportunity to snap a season-high skid.
The New Orleans Hornets, though, arrive at Madison Square Garden riding their longest win streak of the season, and Greivis Vasquez along with a healthier Eric Gordon have played significant roles in that run.
The Hornets' backcourt duo will try to lead their team to a fifth consecutive victory on Sunday afternoon against the slumping Knicks, losers of three in a row.
Knee problems have limited Gordon to 15 games over two seasons with the Hornets (11-25), but his return to the starting lineup has coincided with his team's current win streak. The shooting guard has averaged 14.8 points over those four consecutive victories and scored 16 in Friday's 104-92 comeback win against Minnesota.
While also helping New Orleans back from an early 18-point deficit, Vasquez had team highs of 18 points and 13 assists, a career high-tying third straight double-double and fifth in six games.
"It's huge for us. We definitely are really stringing it together," forward Ryan Anderson said. "Obviously, that first quarter, we want to play better than that. We really gave a great effort to come back in that game."
The Hornets couldn't muster such comeback magic against the Knicks on Nov. 20 in New Orleans. New York pulled away for a 102-80 victory by outscoring the home team 30-16 in the third quarter.
Carmelo Anthony had 29 points in that win but his 39 in a return from a one-game suspension Friday were not enough in a 108-101 loss to Chicago. Anthony was forced to sit out another loss the previous night in Indiana because of a confrontation with Boston's Kevin Garnett following a home defeat Monday.
"We definitely don't want to lose. We've got to bounce back, take it one day at a time, one game at a time," said Anthony, who has scored at least 39 in three of his last five games. "Sunday is our next game, New Orleans, and that's a game that we have to go get. It's a must-win."
The Knicks (23-13) have won seven of eight over the Hornets but the lone loss was the most recent meeting at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 17. Anthony, though, missed that 89-85 defeat because of a strained right groin.
With Anthony likely in the lineup this time, the Knicks will try to keep from adding to their longest skid since a six-gamer March 4-12. New York is also seeking to avoid a third consecutive home defeat and its sixth in nine games following a 10-0 start at the Garden.
The Hornets, meanwhile, are seeking their longest win streak since a franchise record-tying 10 consecutive victories from Jan. 9-26, 2011. They're also pursuing a fourth win in five road games following a 2-11 start away from New Orleans.
Gordon has averaged 21.0 points in five all-time games against the Knicks but hasn't faced them since Nov. 20, 2010, when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.
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