Pre-Game News and Notes
Knicks vs. Wizards
The Knicks will be looking to get some revenge on a Wizards team that beat them in their last meeting and have been playing good basketball since John Wall returned from his injury. The Wizards are not as bad as their 18-38 record would make them out to be. The Wizards are 13-10 with Wall in the lineup; a record that would put them right in the thick of the playoffs over the course of a full season. This will be the third of four meetings this season between the Knicks and Wizards.
-Contain John Wall
After seeing what Stephen Curry did against the Knicks Wednesday night John Wall will get the next shot against the Knicks putrid perimeter defense. In the last matchup Wall dominated the Knicks, scoring 21 points, handing out nine assists and grabbing five rebounds. He played a great game as the Knicks were unable to keep him in check in his first start of the season.
Wall cannot shoot the ball as well as Curry but he is much more explosive with speed, quickness and athleticism rivaled by few players. Wall is a menace in the transition game and can get to the basket at will with his combination of size and speed. Wall also plays the pick-and-roll game well, something the Knicks have struggled stopping recently.
Iman Shumpert has seen his defensive assignments changed recently and should expect to see a lot of Wall to start the game. If Mike Woodson asks Raymond Felton or Jason Kidd to check Wall it will be a long night in Washington for the Knicks.
Wall has struggled recently though, potentially a good thing for the Knicks, as he has averaged only 10.2 points per game on 29.6 percent shooting from the field in his last five games.
-Get Carmelo Going
The Knicks were able to hang with the Warriors and Curry’s barrage in a big part because of Carmelo Anthony, who scored a Knick high 35 points. Anthony should be able to do more of the same against the Wizards tonight.
This season Anthony has averaged 25.5 points per game against the Wizards in two games to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Historically Anthony has succeeded in Washington, averaging 28.3 points per game in his career as a visitor, his third highest mark of any NBA city. Look for Anthony to do more of the same as a hot Anthony start is imperative for Knicks success.
Marcus Camby will again miss tonight’s game as he continues to work his way back from injury. During shoot around Mike Woodson said that Camby would not see the court tonight, but did not rule out Sunday afternoon’s game against the Heat. Camby has been out since January 10th with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
James White will replace Jason Kidd in the line-up tonight in a surprising move. Most basketball brains were calling for this move long ago, but were surprised at the timing after Woodson was so adamant about his line-up earlier.
Another thing to keep an eye on tonight will be Kenyon Martin’s minutes and how he is worked into the rotation. The Knicks are in desperate need of some capable bodies up front after Rasheed Wallace was announced out for the season and Camby is still sidelined. Martin can provide some good production, especially on the defensive end, if given an opportunity.
Martin will have to show that he is worth keeping because the Kings released point guard Aaron Brooks earlier today and the Knicks are one of a few teams that are expressing interest in bringing him in. The Knicks looked to upgrade the point guard position before the trade deadline and nothing came to fruition so the Brooks development is something to keep an eye on.