The Wizards have started the season 2-0 for the first time in a decade. They go into the home opener against the New York Knicks on the second night of a back to back after a gritty, ugly, emotional win in Milwaukee.
The Knicks -- a.k.a. the new home of #KSLIFE -- have a much-improved roster from last year's 17-win team, surrounding Carmelo Anthony with players like Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O'Quinn, and rookie Kristaps Porzingis. New York is currently 1-1, having beaten Milwaukee and lost to Atlanta.
When: October 31 @ 7:00pm Eastern
Where: The Verizon Center, DC
TV: CSN Washington and MSG in New York, plus streaming on League Pass.
Radio: WNEW 99.1 FM in the DMV and ESPN NY 98.7 for any Wiz fans in the Big Apple. Check here for other Wizards-affiliated radio stations.
Alan Anderson (ankle) is still out for the Wizards. Lou Amundson, Arron Afflalo, and former-Wizard Kevin Seraphin are all currently listed as day-to-day.
Storylines we're following
Can Otto slow down Carmelo Anthony?
Otto Porter has emerged as a defensive stopper on the wing for the Wizards, but his most impressive performances have come against tall, lanky shooters like Kyle Korver and DeMar DeRozan. Melo's strength and footwork, particularly in the post, will be a challenge for Otto, and will serve as a decent measuring stick for how he'll do against bulkier wings like LeBron James throughout the season. In the Wizards' preseason game against the Knicks, Melo poured on 21 points in under 25 minutes. Otto also struggled against Giannis Antetokounmpo on Friday night, prompting Wittman to give Kelly Oubre one minute and six seconds of meaningful second-quarter playing time.
Can the Wizards win without the House of Guards putting the game on their backs?
The young, energetic defenses of Orlando and Milwaukee both gave the Wizards fits, and the 'Zards neglected to return the favor. In both games the Wizards trailed midway through the 4th, until John Wall and Bradley Beal decided to go into beast mode. To be fair to the rest of the team, Ramon Sessions contributed to the heroics on Friday, but it would be nice to not need heroics to win.
UPDATE: Wizards may be without Randy Wittman tonight
Wittman is attending Flip Saunders' memorial service in Minnesota, according to Jorge Castillo, which could make it difficult for him to get back to Washington in time for tonight's game:
Logistics make Wittman's availability for the Wizards' home opener uncertain. He could make it to Verizon Center in time to coach the entire game or a portion of it, but could also miss the contest. A Wizards spokesperson said the team is not sure. If Wittman is absent, assistant coaches Don Zierdan and Don Newman would split head coaching duties.
It's going to be a little more challenging for the Wizards if their coach is not there, but kudos to the Wizards for giving Randy Wittman the flexibility to attend Saturday's service. Some things are more important than a game against the Knicks. This is one of them.