NBA Preseason 2013: Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks Preview (Key Match Up, Notes and Prediction)

Apr 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) keeps the ball from Washington Wizards shooting guard Garrett Temple (17) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Excitement has suddenly surrounded Washington basketball after a dominating victory against the defending champion Miami Heat on Tuesday, but the Wizards will need a repeat performance to stop the Carmelo Anthony led New York Knicks tonight in Baltimore.  The game be broadcasted on CSN and MSG at 7:00 PM.

Key Match Up:

Even though the Wizards/Bullets once resided in Baltimore, I wouldn’t be surprised if this quickly turned into an “away” game because of Carmelo Anthony’s return to the city. After moving from Brooklyn to Baltimore at the age of 8, Anthony credits the city of Baltimore for “raising him” and the crowd on hand tonight will undoubtedly cheer him on over the Wizards, which has been a common occurrence everywhere Anthony plays.

Anthony on Baltimore return: I was born in Brooklyn, man . . . but where I really learned my life skills was in Baltimore,” Anthony said Wednesday after practice. “That’s the city that raised me. Brooklyn will always be in my blood, will always be in my heart. But Baltimore is the city that definitely raised me.

Luckily for Washington, starting small forward Trevor Ariza is regarded as one of the best defensive wings in the league and looked a lot better against the Heat than he did in the prior two preseason games. If the Wizards want to remain competitive tonight, Ariza will have to do a better job defending Anthony, who’s averaged nearly 24 points and 7 rebounds against Ariza in the 20-games they were matched up against one another. 

Scoring 13 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, Ariza bounced back on Tuesday after playing two disastrous games in preseason thus far. Washington needs to start seeing more consistency out of Ariza, or he’ll ultimately end up losing his starting job to Martell Webster once again. Ariza does have a winning record against Carmelo Anthony, so he must be doing something right.

Other Notes:

Prediction:

Washington looked great on Tuesday, and I don’t expect that to change tonight. The Wizards picked up their defensive intensity and their offense looked better than it ever has during preseason. Of course, having Bradley Beal explode for 29 points (17 of which came in the first half) couldn’t hurt, but if he gets the similar looks like he did on Tuesday, we could see a repeat performance from the second year guard. John Wall has to be more aggressive and not settle for jump shots as often as he did against the Heat. If they’re able to contain New York’s perimeter shooting, they should be able to leave Baltimore with another preseason victory. The Knicks were fourth in three point percentage last season, and without any real low-post threats, New York will live and die by the three.

I’m interested to see if Wittman will start the same lineup which earned the first victory on Tuesday, or if he’ll opt to start Vesely instead of Booker once again. The Knicks are expected to start Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni in their backcourt, and besides Tyson Chandler, size shouldn’t be an issue for the Wizards tonight.

With all that said, I think the Wizards will be able to sneak out with another victory tonight.

Topics: Baltimore Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Nba Preseason 2013, New York Knicks, Trevor Ariza, Washington Wizards, Wizards Knicks

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