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Wizards at Knicks Pregame: Can The Wiz Overcome A Back-To-Back In The Big City?

Regular Season Game 42

Wizards (22-19) at Knicks (19-24)

January 19, 2017 at 8:00 PM
Madison Square Garden | New York, NY
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 1500 AM

Last time they met was..

November 17, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington: Wizards 119, Knicks 112

What to watch:

The beginning of a critical stretch of games against Eastern Conference foes.

The Wizards will embark on a 5-game journey against East teams, all of whom are within hitting distance in the conference standings, starting with the Knicks tonight who trail Washington by five games. The Wiz will follow up tonight’s game against the Pistons and Hornets on the road, then return home for the Celtics before traveling to Atlanta later next week. While the Wizards have certainly established their dominance at home, they have left much to be desired on the road. They enter Madison Square Garden tonight riding a dismal 4-13 record away from Verizon. Tonight, they’ll have the opportunity to not only enjoy their fifth road win of the season, but also a chance to further themselves through the congested mosh pit of conference foes. They currently trail the Hawks by 1.5 games for the 4th seed.

Key Matchup:

Otto vs. Melo

Watching Otto evolve from a young, staggering calf he was his rookie season, to the panting angry bull he’s become this season has been nothing short of remarkable. Otto has started all 41 games, is shooting 54% from the field and an incredible 45% from 3-point range, good for second in the league behind Joe Ingles who leads him by just one percent. He supplements his offensive surge with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He’s achieved career-high’s in points (34 versus Boston on November 19), and 3-point field goals (6 versus Memphis last night). He’s been a prize.

Historically, Melo has been an unfavorable matchup for Otto. But that wasn’t the case in their last meeting back in November when Otto scored 21 points on 4 of 5 shooting from downtown in a 119-112 Wizards win. Melo, meanwhile, struggled, mostly from behind the arc, making just 1 of 8 attempts. If the tables have truly turned on Melo in this matchup, we’ll know for sure tonight.


Back-to-back woe’s.

The Wizards are 1-7 this season in games that fall on the tail end of a back-to-back. Markieff Morris chalked off the struggles to guys playing big minutes and running out of the gas. I’m chalking it off as this is the N-B-of-freaking-A so let’s get it together.

Fun Factor:

John Wall and Jason Smith will play at MSG, but this time as teammates for the first time. We all remember the last time Wall was squared up against Smith in New York:


John Wall and Bradley Beal have enjoyed some memorable games under the Big City lights. I’m looking for Otto to have his tonight, using the momentum gained from last night’s monster performance and leveraging it against Carmelo. Wizards defy the back-to-back odds and win decisively.

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