Friday, April 13, 2012

Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks Pre-Game News and Notes April 13

Friday April 13, 2012 7:30 P.M. ET 
Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks 

The Knicks were able to breathe a sigh of relief after Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. They enter tonight 2 games ahead of the Bucks with 8 games remaining in the regular season. Washington is the first game of a 3 game home stand for the Knicks, who currently sport a 30-28 record, sitting a game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for 7th place in the Eastern Conference and controlling their own destiny. After these games at home, the Knicks return to the road for a 3 game trip. 

-Avoid a Letdown 

Tonight is a prototypical trap game for the Knicks. After not only having that huge win Wednesday night, the Knicks remaining home stand features the Miami Heat on Sunday and the Boston Celtics right after that. All complacency needs to be left at the door when the players and staff enter the building. They can not afford to come out flat against this Wizard team because they are looking ahead on the schedule and past today. Bound for the lottery, the Wizards are out to just spoil their opponents plans from here on out. Losing tonight would ruin all the momentum and good feelings built from the victory Wednesday. 

-Guard Play 

The Knicks have been struggling to get consistent guard play from their backcourt since Jeremy Lin went down with an injury. Iman Shumpert is still a rookie and has been inconsistent throughout the season on the offensive end but delivering on defense every night. The other problem is Baron Davis, who has been battling through injuries for the Knicks but is visible being affected by them. Tonight does not get any easier for the Knicks as they have to figure out a way to slow down dynamo John Wall. 

Wall is lightning quick and is a one man fast break. He can get up and down the court with the best of them. This has to be something the Knicks need to contain as the Wizards go as Wall does. 

The Knicks were unable to slow down the Milwaukee Bucks backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis as a whole, but whoever was being guarded by Shumpert was held in check. Watch for Shumpert to shadow Wall almost all night just as he did to Derrick Rose on Easter Sunday. 

-Get the Early Lead 

It would be beneficial for the Knicks to come out strong tonight and build a big early lead. The earlier they are able to put away the Wizards the better it will be. The Knicks have a tough game Sunday afternoon against the Miami Heat and could use all the rest they can get. 

Carmelo Anthony has been carrying the team for the last 9 games since Amar’e Stoudemire and Lin went down with injuries, averaging 30 points per game on 50% shooting. How much longer will he be able to play at such a high level with a compressed schedule and no consistent sidekick? Multiple times Anthony could be seen grabbing at his right hand, his shooting hand, as the Bucks played him very physical. He could use all the rest he can get. 

Tyson Chandler is another person the Knicks would not mind sitting out a portion of the game tonight if the game is in hand. Chandler has been dealing with a number of injuries all season including his wrist, shoulder and groin. Chandler is the heart and soul of the Knicks defense, meaning a loss of him would be devastating for the Knicks. As Carmelo Anthony sets the offensive tone, Chandler does the same on defense. 

Without either of those players the Knicks would struggle so any rest they can get for those two would be beneficial. 

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