Washington (9-13) at New York (7-16)
December 16, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat, PF- Trevor Booker, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Martell Webster, PG- John Wall
New York Knicks
C- Andrea Bargnani, PF- Carmelo Anthony, SF- J.R. Smith, SG- Iman Shumpert, PG- Pablo Prigioni
Trevor Ariza vs. Carmelo Anthony
This season, the poorly performing Knicks have no defensive anchor and have enjoyed a modicum of success recently by outscoring their (nearly as bad) opponents. As usual, then, we can expect Camelo Anthony shoot the ball. A lot. Trevor has been great defensively so far this season, so I think the key is not allowing Anthony to find a groove.
Anthony has been shooting okay through the last few games, but prior to that his field goal percentage had hovered around 43% for a stretch.
John Wall. Wall has an opportunity to have a huge game against a combination of Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih. Wall boasts a quickness and isolation ability advantage over both guards, so I expect that he’ll be able to get into the lane relatively easy. I also expect Wall to log a lot of minutes in consideration of Eric Maynor’s struggles.
This is the perfect opportunity for Wall to improve his field goal percentage – an area in which he struggled with prior to this past Saturday’s game against the Clippers.
Amar’e Stoudemire, once the ire of most Knicks fans due to his inflated pay and lack of production, has gotten healthy and quietly embraced his bench role and notched double figures in five of his last six games, all while shooting nearly 70% from the floor. Stoudemire has also begun to pick up the pace defensively, averaging over a block per game in the same stretch.
Washington’s already challenged front court will have its hands full trying to defend Amare.
What happened last time they played?
In the last meeting back on November 23rd, John Wall lead all scores with 31 in route to a 98-89 victory against the Knicks at the Verizon Center. The Wizards also got good games out of Martell Webster (19 points) and Marcin Gortat (16 points and 17 rebounds).
For the Knicks, both Carmelo Anthony (23 points on 47% shooting) and Andrea Bargnani (11 points) had solid games, but the team did not get much out of the remainder of its starters, as Iman Shumpert, Beno Udrih and Kenyon Martin scored a combined total of 12 points on 5-16 shooting.
The win would mark the beginning of a stretch for the Wizards where they’d go on to win four out their next five contests.
For the Wizards, Bradley Beal is a game-time decision based on how his leg feels during pregame warmups. Al Harrington is definitely out while Nene is not likely to play due to his Achilles injury.
For the Knicks, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton are out. Kenyon Martin is questionable.
Washington has been struggling lately, but I see this game as optimal for getting back on track. While the Wizards typically do not enjoy success in Madison Square Garden (or a lot of placer, for that matter), this year’s Knicks team is short-handed and just plain bad.
Barring the Knicks ending up on the good side of their volume shooting, I like the Wizards’ chances. In addition to Wall, look for Gortat to have another good game and for Booker to have another confidence-boosting solid game.