The Washington Wizards head to New York to play the Knicks for the last time this year. New York has been on fire lately, having won 12 games in a row. With Tyson Chandler battling a neck injury and unlikely to play, this might be as good a chance as any for the Wizards to steal one at the Garden.
Where and when? Tip off is at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
Are they good? Yes, finally. After years spent in the NBA's wilderness, the Knicks are finally looking like a legit contender, largely on the strength of a peaking Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and the team's bevy of shooters. They're 50-26 on the year and currently riding a 12 game winning streak. Not too shabby for a team that spent most of the last decade pining their hopes on players like Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry.
Who's out? For the Knicks? Kurt Thomas (40) and Rasheed Wallace (38) and Amare Stoudemire (one knee) are out, while Kenyon Martin (no knees, 35), Marcus Camby (38) and Chandler (neck problems) are day to day. Bradley Beal is out for Washington, while Trevor Booker is day to day with a bruised tailbone.
Who has the best selling jersey in the NBA now? Meloooooooooooo!
What are they good at? Putting the ball in the hole. Anthony isn't quite the natural passer that Lebron James or even Kobe is, but he draws a ton of defensive attention and New York is perfectly set up to take advantage of this. Because everyone else on the team other than J.R. Smith and Chandler is essentially a three point specialist, the Knicks are second in the NBA in three pointers attempted, sixth in three pointers made and first in turnover percentage. That tends to happen when guys like Steve Novak and Chris Copeland are finding themselves open in the corner a dozen times a night.
What are they bad at? Playing defense, especially against athletic teams. In case the injury report above didn't clue you in, the Knicks are absurdly old and no one on the team other than possibly Chandler could be described as an elite athlete. Even Iman Shumpert, whose taken over designated stopper duties from Ronnie Brewer, isn't as quick as his elite hops might have you believe. The Knicks are 16th in the NBA in defensive rating, but you have to wonder how much better they'd be if they weren't so vulnerable to quick and springy players.
WWID (What Would Isaiah Do)? Probably trade Chandler for Joe Johnson, trade a first rounder to Boston for Jason Terry, trade another first rounder for Ben Gordon, extend Amare and find a way to sign JJ Hickson to a max deal.
Who wins tonight? New York was a nine-point favorite this morning and is playing at home. Then again, Chandler's battling neck problems and could be absent or limited, plus Chris Singleton and Trevor Ariza have both had success in the past matching up physically with Anthony. Considering Washington is battling injury problems of their own, this one could be tight, but I've got to go with Wall leading the Wizards to an upset win.
Where else can I read about the Knicks? Check out Posting and Toasting.
What are your predictions for tonight's game? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll!