By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards will try and beat a division leader for the fifth time this season as they host the Atlantic Division leading Knicks for the first time this year at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wiz have won six of their last seven games at home. The Knicks beat the Wizards, 108-87, on November 30th in New York.
The Wizards have wins against the Heat, Thunder, Bulls, and Clippers and eight of the Wizards 12 wins have come against teams with records above .500. They will be put to the test once again as they face another one of the NBA's top teams tonight with the Knicks in town.
The Knicks enter tonight's game with a record of 31-15 and are winners of five in a row. In those five wins, Raymond Felton has averaged 8.8 assists per game and has been a big spark since returning from his injury. Amar'e Stoudemire has been adjusting to a new role as he now comes off the bench and has really thrived. He has scored in double figures in each of the Knicks last 11 games and is shooting 72% from the field in hist last five games.
The Knicks present a slew of talent and can throw a lot of different lineups on the floor to cause matchup problems. They like to play a three guard lineup, with Felton, Jason Kidd, and Iman Shumpert alongside Carmelo Anthony at the PF spot and Tyson Chandler at C. The Wizards could use a lot of the lineup we saw on Monday vs. L.A., where Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster played the forward positions and John Wall and Garrett Temple were in the backcourt with Nene at C.
The Wizards have held their last six opponents to under 100 points and rank in the top 10 in defense. That defense will be tested as they face a Knicks team averaging 101 points per game and are 2nd in the league in 3-point shooting at 38.5% per game.
The Wizards are coming off a home win over the Clippers, in which they got back to sharing the ball and moving the ball on offense. They had 27 assists in that game and will need to stick with their principles and continue to move the ball tonight. The Knicks lead the league in fewest turnovers allowed, which means they won't beat themselves. If the Wizards can get the Knicks out of their comfort zone and force tough shots, it will go a long way to helping them get their 2nd win in a row and their 7th win in their last eight here at Verizon Center.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Emeka Okafor has eight games with 14+ rebounds this season and 11 double-doubles to lead the Wizards. He has double-digit rebounds in five of the Wizards last six games and be a key component in stopping the Knicks tonight as he goes up against All-Star C Tyson Chandler.
Tyson Chandler is having another fine year manning the middle for the Knicks. He averages over 11 points and rebounds per game and shoots at a very high percentage from the field. The reason for that is because most of his baskets are dunks and cleanup points on the glass. The Wizards will need to know where he is at all times and do whatever they can to keep him off the glass and away from the rim.
In the below clip, check out highlights of the Wizards win over the Clippers.