The Wizards have lost four straight games, and three of them could’ve potentially went the other way if a few things were tweaked. Although the Eastern Conference is weaker than ever, Washington must find ways to close out games and it wouldn’t hurt if they started out tonight in New York against the Knicks. The game tips off at 7:30 PM from Madison Square Garden.
Key Match Up:
Carmelo Anthony has gotten plenty of criticism over the course of his 10-year career, and it hasn’t stopped in the final year of his contract with the Knicks. The Knicks have been riddled with injuries, but Anthony has done his best to step up when his team’s needed it the most. He’s inevitably gotten some blame for New York’s struggles, but he’s done a better job at doing more than just scoring the ball. Anthony is leading his team in rebounds with over 9 per game and he’s done the little things which he hasn’t necessarily been doing since the start of his career. Without Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony is being forced to do some of the things which often go unnoticed. He’ll definitely get the brunt of the blame, but injuries have plagued the Knicks and Anthony has played some of the best statistical basketball of his career.
With that said, Trevor Ariza has to find a way to make Anthony take tough shots from the perimeter. Anthony is obviously one of the best scorers in the NBA, but forcing him to take jump shots instead of getting points in the paint will take away some of the other things in his game. Anthony is very good at following his own misses, which allows the Knicks to get some offensive rebounds, so Ariza must do his best at stopping Anthony from getting to the basket. Without much help, the Knicks will rely on Anthony for the majority of their baskets and if he’s contained New York’s chances of winning essentially go out the window.
- Raymond Felton sat out the last time these two teams matched up, and he won’t be available tonight either. That means we’ll get to see Pablo Prigioni try and defend John Wall (!!!).
- Nene will likely be a game-time decision tonight. He’s missed the last few games with a sore achilles.
- The Knicks have the fifth worst defensive rating in the league.
- New York has already lost 8 times at MSG. They’re 4 games below .500 at home. Yikes.
Washington has had their problems on the court, but the Knicks seem to be completely disarrayed on and off the floor. J.R. Smith is constantly bickering with head coach Mike Woodson, and Carmelo Anthony’s free agency situation has become a bigger storyline than the Knicks play on the court.
John Wall has emerged as one of the best point guards in the NBA, and if the prior game against the Knicks is any indication as to how this game will pan out, Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih won’t stand a chance at defending him. Wall scored 31 points along with 7 assists en route to a Wizards victory over the Knicks in Washington, but the Wizards have struggled historically at MSG.
Tonight could be categorized as a ‘must win’ game for the Wizards and I think they’ll managed to beat the lowly Knicks at home. New York is in shambles and the constant trade rumors haven’t helped their case. In fact, this might be the last time we’ll see Mike Woodson coaching the Knicks if they get blown out by the struggling Wizards at home.