Wizards @ Knicks: MSG 730pm
The Knicks are back at the Garden we’re their 5-0 to face the hapless 1-12 Washington Wizards. The Wizards picked up their first win of the season, Wednesday at home over the Portland Trail Blazers, 84-82. AJ Price, Bradley Beal, Kevin Seraphin, Emeka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza start for Washington, as Nene is slowly working his way back into game shape coming off the bench and playing about 20 minutes per game. The bench also consists of Jordan Crawford who led the team in scoring in their win with 18pts on 7/14 from the field, Chris Singleton, Shaun Livingston and Martell Webster. They have a very low scoring bench and team overall. In their win over the Blazers, they held them to 35% shooting from the field though they were out rebounded and turned the ball over more.
The Wizards are arguably the worst offensive team in the NBA, as they are last in points scored per game average at less than 90 points as well as field goal percentage (40%) and are third worse in three point shooting (30%). The Knicks have no excuse to work on their post defense and rotations as they are still struggling in giving up back door cuts and matching up in transition. There was several times where they got lucky in their win over the Bucks on Wednesday. This game will also have a lot to say about the Knicks focus as they play an obviously inferior opponent. They need to protect home court.
The Knicks showed improvement offensively on Wednesday and Coach Woodson must be commended for shaking up the rotation and giving more minutes to Pablo Prigioni, Chris Copeland Steve Novak. Starting Novak in the second half opened the floor up for both Novakaine and Carmelo; this could be a look you might see against teams that don’t exploit Novak defensively. It may NOT be a good look against a Miami for example. Prigioni felt comfortable with Copeland and this helped his game. I can’t wait until Stoudemire comes back and gets some time in with Pablo as they should be a devastating pick and roll tandem, and if STAT improves in the post he can take over Wallace’s role off the bench. The Knicks will be without Jason Kidd again, but this can only help Pablo’s development.
I look for the Knicks to ratchet up the defensive discipline and intensity and get out on the Wizards early. The Knicks need as much as rest as they can get heading into next week. Go Knicks!