Preseason game #4
Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks
October 17, 2013
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, MD
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Nene, PF- Trevor Booker, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall
New York Knicks
C- Tyson Chandler, PF- Andrea Bargnani, SF- Carmelo Anthony, SG- Iman Shumpert, PG- Raymond Felton
Bradley Beal vs. Iman Shumpert
I would highlight Carmelo’s mismatch with Booker/Vesely, but Carmelo is going to get his either way. This backcourt matchup is very intriguing to me. Beal will either have his way with, or have his hands full with Shumpert. Shumpert has shown flashes of elite on-ball defense throughout his career, but he does have a tendency to get beat as of late. Shumpert has also been shooting the 3 better than he shoots from the field which is something Beal should plan his defense around. We are all increasingly feeling like Beal is the real deal, especially after last night. A strong night against a potentially great individual defender after a strong night against a great team defense will open our eyes even more to the potential Beal has.
Carmelo Anthony. He can put up points against the best of the best, and tonight he may not face much resistance. If the Wizards choose to put Ariza on Anthony, and Booker/Vesely on Bargnani, it will still be a big night for Carmelo. That’s because this is the first time Carmelo Anthony will be playing in Baltimore since high school. He should get a warm reception, and when his confidence is high he likes to put on a show. Lights, Camera, Bully Ball.
3-point shooting. New York is very streaky from downtown, but when they are on they are tough to beat. The Knicks gave a team like Miami fits in the regular season because of their ability to move the ball fast enough along the perimeter and escape the rotational help. However, they have a tendency to force too many 3’s and completely diminish their offensive flow and efficiency. On the flipside, the Knicks find themselves in trouble with their own help defense. This usually happens when Carmelo Anthony struggles against strength at the 4 spot. If Booker can wear him down a bit, this could help the Wizards. The Wizards have to stop the Knicks game and beat them at their own, then ramp up the intensity to stagger their offense. Beal, Wall, and Webster could get some open looks from downtown and they need to cash in and then cash out.
What happened last time they played?
The Knicks stomped the Wizards back in Madison Square Garden. They came out firing and never looked back. Anthony dominated with a 30+ point game. That win for the Knicks extended their win streak to 13 at the time. The Knicks attempted 36 shots from downtown and hit 20 of them. That further emphasizes that the Wizards need to take away the 3 from New York. Wall got to the rim often and was 11-14 from the free throw line en route to a 33 point game. Cartier Martin was the second high man for the Wiz with 16, and Beal missed this game with an injury. Everybody else for Washington was a non-factor, as they collectively only shot 40% from the field.
For the Wizards, Booker rebounded well last game from some missed time and Maynor should play in this game after struggling with a sore Achilles. Okafor is still out. The Knicks will likely be without Kenyon Martin as he has struggled with ankle injuries. Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith remain out.
I failed you with my last prediction, as the Wizards obliterated the “just happy to be here” version of the Miami Heat. I am still going with the Knicks this time because they have given a lot of rest to their starters. They started Josh Powell, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr. last game, providing some rest for Carmelo, Felton and company. The Knicks should be refreshed and ready to go. The Wizards were destroyed from downtown last time by the Knicks in the regular season. If the Wizards can contain them this time around and hit some of their own from downtown, they have a chance to ride a lead into the 4th quarter. I predict the Knicks by 8, but I would love for Bradley Beal to prove me wrong again. The gauntlet has been thrown.