Knicks say Tyson Chandler is out and Kenyon Martin is back and will start.
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) April 9, 2013
Pre-Game News and Notes
Wizards vs. Knicks: MSG 7:30PM
The Knicks will look to not only extend their 12-game winning streak tonight against the Wizards at Madison Square Garden, but also lock up the division title for the first time since 1993-1994. The Knicks magic number sits at one currently, meaning their next win or Nets loss will give the Knicks the Atlantic Division title. It has been so long since the Knicks won the Atlantic Division that two teams no longer residing in the division, the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, have won it more times than the Knicks. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Knicks and Wizards this season, with the Knicks winning two of the first three matchups but the Wizards giving them some serious problems in the last two meetings. Here are some things to look for the Knicks to continue their win streak and lock up the Atlantic Division.
Tyson Chandler is out for tonight’s game due to his continuous battle with a bulging disc in his connect, hopes to play Thursday. The Knicks have finally received some positive news on the injury front about all of their big men. Kenyon Martin shot earlier today and will play on a minutes restriction, probably about 20. It is nice to know that for once knee soreness seems to have really meant that and Martin should be good to go soon enough.
For the big men who have been and will continue to be out for a while in Amar’e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace positives are abound as well. Stoudemire was said to be running on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill by Mike Woodson and no setbacks have been reported. Wallace, like Martin, shot today which is an encouraging sign but he has not yet started running. Of the three big men, Wallace is the furthest away from returning to the court.
The Wizards go as John Wall goes, so to make life as easy as possible on themselves tonight the Knicks should look to slow him down first and foremost. Before Wall rejoined the team after surgery in the preseason the Wizards were 5-28; they not sit with a record of 29-48, going 24-20 since Wall got back on the court. This is not a Wizards team to take lightly, even with Bradley Beal sidelined for the remainder of the season solely because Wall can carry them by himself for stretches.
The Knicks have seen this twice already this season, as Wall as put forth good performances against the Knicks thus far this season. Wall went for 21 points and nine assists in the second meeting of the two this season, his first appearance against the Knicks, in a Wizards win. Wall was held to 16 points and six assists in the most recent matchup, as the Knicks did a better job of containing him and forcing him into poor decisions, evident by his five turnovers.
The Knicks are on a different level right now and are locked in, so no matter how well the Wizards have been with Wall on the court they should still be able to handle their business tonight in front of what will be a raucous Garden crowd looking to see their first division title in 19 seasons.
-Can Melo Continue His Hot Streak
Carmelo Anthony won Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week, the second consecutive week a Knick has won after J.R. Smith won it the previous week, and it was well deserved. Anthony is on another planet right now, scoring 40 points in three consecutive games last week while shooting better than 60 percent. The first of those 40 point games he tied a career high with 50 points and followed that streak up with a cool 36 in Oklahoma City to lead the Knicks to a victory over the Thunder and claim the NBA scoring lead over Kevin Durant.
Much like many teams in the NBA, the Wizards do not employ a player with the defensive skill set to slow down Anthony and there is no reason he does not continue his hot shooting tonight. History is in Anthony’s favor to continue scoring at a torrid pace, as he averages 27.1 points per game against Washington, 2.1 points over his career average and fourth highest against any NBA team, trailing only his scoring against only Heat, Thunder, Magic and Knicks.