Knicks @ Wizards: MSG 7pm
The Knicks are looking for revenge in the nation’s capital against the surging Wizards. Once again, the Knicks will have to find a way to contain a top flight point guard in John Wall. Iman Shumpert played magnificently in limited minutes against Golden State with six steals, trying to keep Curry in check. I think his performance will finally put Woodson firmly on the path that Shump needs to guard the other team’s fastest guard.
The Wizards are winners of 7 of their last 10 games and they have a pretty stout defense, giving up the sixth fewest points in the league. Bradley Beal has been improving with each week and once again the Knicks will need to worry about stopping Wall and Beal. We all know how poor the Knicks have been in transition defense and how much Wall enjoys attacking in transition. This may be the single biggest concern for the Knicks.
The Knicks are starting to feel good about themselves, tied for the 2nd seed in the East again, and coming off an impressive win overcoming Steph Curry’s 54 point bonanza at MSG. Tyson Chandler, JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire shined. However, Steve Novak and Jason Kidd continue to struggle from the outside. Novak was 0-6 and 0-4 from downtown. I was impressed with Kenyon Martin and I believe he needs to be a consistent part of the second unit. In just five minutes, he had three aggressive traps which led to two Warriors turnovers. The Knicks will need that alongside Amare, Prigioni, JR and Novak.
We may also see the return of Marcus Camby tonight, which is much needed in the second unit defensively, as that has been the Knicks glaring weakness. The first unit has played solid defensively to start games, but have been struggling hitting open outside jump shots. I believe the Knicks should stay with the first unit and show confidence in Kidd and Shump and plug in a second unit showcasing JR Smith and Amare Stoudemire with Prigioni running the show alongside K-Mart and Camby at the 3 and 5 for defensive purposes. I don’t think anyone will be able to score on that unit. Furthermore, Camby is solid from midrange out of possible STAT double teams and Smith can kill you from three or if things break down. K Mart can attack the boards off the weak side, and if JR is off, substitute Martin for Novak for an injection of shooting. With that being said, Novak helps the Knicks with floor spacing, so it may get tricky when both Martin and Camby are on the floor at the same time. Woodson will figure it out and hopefully we get to see second unit possibilities, plus get a win on the road. Three in a row is the goal… GO KNICKS!