When: Sunday, November 4 at 6:00 pm Eastern Time
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Washington
Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis (Out, Knee), Courtney Lee (Out, Neck), Isaiah Hicks (Out, Groin), Kevin Knox (Out, Ankle)
What to Watch for
It’s their third matchup since October 1
The Wizards played the Knicks in their preseason opener, losing the game by 2 points in overtime. A week later, Washington beat the Knicks at MSG 110-98. Washington had their players playing limited minutes during the preseason but now that everyone is healthy and there’s pressure to win, we expect all Wizards players to be all in. The Knicks are not too far ahead of the Wizards as they are 3-6 this season.
Worry about Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. is leading the Knicks with 25.1 points per game. In his last four games he dropped 18, 37, 25, and 24 points. Going into this game, the Wizards know that Hardaway Jr. will be taking most of his team’s shots and will be the guy his team wants to have the ball in his hands if the game comes down to the wire. Washington needs to contain Hardaway Jr. but if he’s the only player during the game to score 20+ points, which is possible with this Knicks squad, then that’s not a bad situation to be in either.
Knicks are plagued with injuries
The Knicks will be without Porzingis, Lee, Hicks, and likely Kevin Knox who suffered an ankle injury on October 20. This is a winnable game for the Wizards and more than anything, they need a victory to boost morale.
Dwight Howard making an immediate impact is great but not the solution
Howard’s debut on Friday night against the Thunder was noteworthy. He scored an impressive 20 points in the 23 minutes that he was on the floor. Hopefully he stays healthy because Washington needs his contributions going forward. It’s evident he was a big missing piece to the Wizards but that doesn’t mean he’s the answer. The Wizards now need to figure out how to make good on their rough 1-7 start.
“I’m not hitting the panic button, Beal said after Friday’s 134-111 loss. “I’m not hitting it and I don’t think we are either as a team. We understand it’s early. It’s not perfect and patience is running low from everybody, from ourselves. Nobody is more disappointed than us. I’m definitely going to say that. It’s not like we’re going out to lose every game. Nobody has that mindset, we’re just coming up short. We’re not doing the things we need to do and we just have to get better. The only way to get through it is we just have to fight our way out of it. That’s the only way.”
It’s clear that Beal and his teammates are very aware of their struggles going into the season but what will it take for them to turn things around?
This game is the perfect opportunity to start.