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Wizards vs. Knicks Pregame: Merry Wizmas!

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Washington (19-8) at New York (5-25)

December 25, 2014 at 12:00PM
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: ESPN
Radio: 99.1FM


Since its inception into the realm of sport in 1946, the NBA has been the only league to showcase a collection of marquee matchups on Christmas Day. To the dismay of a few (kick rocks, SVG) and the delight of many, Christmas Day games have always been one of the more anticipated affairs in the NBA, right up there with opening night, the playoffs and the Finals. Five games of 10 meticulously handpicked teams, all sharing some sort of enticing narrative good enough to disturb your family’s concentration at Christmas Day mass with every da-da-da, da-da-da alert your phone blares via your ESPN app’s game updates.

Let’s see, we’ve got a Western Conference Finals rematch; LeBron with the second version of a “Return Game” when he visits old friends in Miami as a reborn Cav; perhaps you’ll be drunk by 8:00 PM when the Lakers play and by the time you wake up from passing out and pounded your plate with the afternoon’s leftovers, you’ll be just in time for the Clips and the Warriors.

But before we get to any of these other blockbusters, the Xmas Day quintuple tips off at noon in New York City where our Wizards will be on site for their first game in such a day since 2008.

The Wizards partaking in nationally televised Christmas Day festivities is sorely telling about the change of perception and their evolution from mockeries. They went from perpetual Shaqtin’ a Fool segments to Christmas Day’s biggest and most frequent spotlight: Madison Square Garden. Of course, when the Christmas Day matchups were being selected over the summer, the presumption was that by this day, the Knicks would have won more than just five of their first 30 games and this would have been a solid, potentially playoff-previewing contest. The Knicks haven’t won more than five games, though, and now the only valid reason they are playing today is because they’ve done so 49 other times in history and it has become customary for New Yorkers to spend their Christmas on Pennsylvania Plaza. Cool story.

The Wizards stroll into town with Grinch-like intentions and rightfully so. They’ve lost two straight games to two good teams and have a prized opportunity to get things right against a hapless bottom-feeder on a grand, national stage. The Wizards were at MSG early in the season in November and won decisively 98-83 thanks to full contributions from just about everyone. Six Wizards players finished in double figures, led by Paul Pierce and Garrett Temple’s 17. Kevin Seraphin had a blast, scoring 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

Today’s contest should be one that allows the Wizards to regroup, retool, and replenish back to their style of ball. Over the past two games, the Wiz have struggled to operate at their pace and create offense. The Knicks are the second worst rebounding team and we all know how well the Wizards feed off the boards as it pertains to transition offense and pace dictation. While the Wizards are lodged in the middle of the NBA’s pace rankings, the Knicks are second to last, right around the same area they rank for defensive efficiency. The matchups work in Washington’s favor by large, making it the perfect opportunity for the Wizards to set the tone for a great day of basketball.

Merry Wizmas to all, and as a parting gift for the conclusion of this short game preview, a John Wall post up and turnaround fadeaway on Shane Larkin. Pure beaut.

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