Knicks vs Wizards: MSG 7pm
The New York Knicks hit the road in Washington to take on the improved Wizards. The Knicks are flying high on their five game winning streak, but the Wizards have been winning impressively lately. The Knicks should not take the Wizards lightly at all. With John Wall back, they have become a different team. They are 7-7 since his return, including wins over playoff teams such as the Clippers twice, the Bulls, Blazers, Nuggets, and Hawks. He has been mercilessly attacking the rim for the Wizards, averaging 14 points and just under 8 assists per game. They also have all their big men back and healthy including Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Nene. In addition, they have dangerous perimeter players who average double figures in scoring with Wall, rookie Bradley Beal, Martell Webster (shooting 43% from three) and the always-entertaining Jordan Crawford.
Overall, Washington still has the worst offensive efficiency numbers in the league, but they are actually 7th best defensively. This is an explosive team who I expect will give the Knicks fits. This is a real test for the Knicks in terms of their maturity. This could be another game like the loss in Philly, if the Knicks are not careful. The Wizards are solid defensively and they will try to exploit our guards to the basket. Felton, Kidd, Prigioni, Shumpert, and Smith must be careful defensively.
The Knicks showed much-improved defense in the first half against the Pistons, after playing solid defense in the Sacramento game. They are going to need a full four quarters of defensive effort in Washington tonight. If they don’t, it will cost them. With that being said, I expect the Knicks to continue rolling as long as Woodson keeps the mantra in their mind that, “we have proven we can beat anybody, but we have also proven we can lose to anybody.” This is the mantra that will lead to home court advantage in at least two rounds of the playoffs. Knicks need to take care of business on the road against inferior opponents. GO NEW YORK.