November 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat, PF- Nene, SF- Martell Webster, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall
New York Knicks
C- Kenyon Martin, PF- Andrea Bargnani, SF- Carmelo Anthony, SG- Iman Shumpert, PG- Beno Udrih
Carmelo Anthony v. everybody
The Wizards’ success in the matchup serves more than one purpose. It’s a sheer certainty that Melo will get his thanks to the barrage of jumpers he’ll be chucking up all night But the Wizards must also be weary of their help D on Melo and not allowing other Knicks players to free up on the perimeter. The Knicks are a heavy 3-point shooting team and like to spot their players up for open shots when Melo gets doubled. The absence of Trevor Ariza’s staunch defense will certainly be felt tonight when guarding Melo, so it’ll be up to Martell Webster, Jan Vesely and the rest of the Wizards forwards to man up and hold him down. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Garrett Temple switching to defend Melo on certain plays. Temple’s on ball defense has proven to be effective in the past, but I’m not sure I can bank on any kind of production from him.
John Wall. Wall will face the Knicks’ backup point guard Beno Udrih tonight, a matchup that should favor him. Udrih was inserted into the starting lineup after a hip injury to Raymond Felton and actually had a very stellar performance against the Pacers, scoring 19 points with four assists. John Wall on the other hand is coming off a season-best 37 point performance against Toronto last night. Wall had one of those elusive shooting nights, knocking down plenty of midrange jumpers and a few 3’s. I look for Wall to continue to assert himself offensively, taking Udrih to the rack and beating him off screens.
3-point shooting The Knicks will be firing off plenty of shots from downtown, an area that has notably doomed the Wizards this season (see Love, Kevin). It’ll be interesting to see how the Wizards can respond if the Knicks start to knock them down. The Wizards are a league leader in 3-point shots and tonight should be a testament to that with plenty of corner 3’s and ball rotations to free up open guys around the arc. It’s been successful tool for them offensively and it’ll be needed more than ever tonight against the streaky shooting Knicks.
What happened last time they played?
The Wizards got crushed at the Garden 120-99 thanks to 36 points by Carmelo Anthony. The difference? 3-POINT SHOOTING! The Knicks rained down 20 3-point shots on 36 attempts while the Wizards hit only 8 of 20 from downtown. John Wall led the Wizards with 33 points in a game where the Wizards never had a chance.
Trevor Ariza, Chris Singleton, and Otto Porter are out for the Wizards. Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler are out for the Knicks. Amar’e Stoudamire may play limited minutes.
Besides the containment of Melo and the long range shooting, the Wizards will need a lot more than what they’re getting from their bench. The Wizards’ second unit has been absolutely woeful all season long and last night against the Raptors they were at their worst, scoring just NINE points. It’s gotten to the point where if the Wizards don’t play their starters for at least 42 minutes, the game slips away. The game plan is black and white: the Wizards will need more production from their bench to have any chance of being successful not just tonight, but for the rest of the season. The Knicks are reeling and still trying to find their way through questionable coaching and injuries. Wizards bounce back tonight and start a new win streak.