Friday, January 6, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards - Preview

Tonight at 7 PM, two lowly teams in the form of the Knicks and Wizards will play each other. The Knicks (2-4) have lost 4 of their last 5, and the Wizards have won zero of their last six.

Both teams will be desperate for wins so it should be a tightly contested match. The Wizards are the lone winless club, and the Knicks have been largely disappointing to start the season.

Take the jump for some notes and the scouting report on the Wizards!

Considering the pieces the Knicks have (Baron Davis or no Baron Davis), their record should be better than 2-4. Thus far, the Sacramento Kings game has looked like the only performance in which the offense and defense clicked at the same time. Otherwise, neither of them clicked against the Warriors and Lakers, the offense was stagnant against the Toronto Raptors, and the defense was non-existent against the Bobcats.

A loss for the Washington Wizards would just be another loss for a still-rebuilding team with already low expectations. A loss for the Knicks would set them three games below .500 and give a winless Wizards team their first win. A loss tonight would surely ignite a flame that wishes to fire Mike D'Antoni.

So while when training camp began, few people would have thought that the 7th game of the season against the Wizards would be important, but alas, that is where we stand. Here are some things to watch for:

  • DEFENSE! The Knicks didn't really play it last time. We did see spurts of steals and swatted shots, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Bobcats from scoring 118 points on the MSG floor. The Wizards are only averaging 85.2 points per game. We'll see how the Knicks fare on that side of the floor.
  • OFFENSE! The Wizards give up 98.3 ppg to opponents and allow them to shoot 46% from the field (which is actually better than the Knicks' 47%, but whatever). Likewise, they don't really have any dominant defensive stoppers, so New York should probably have their way on offense.
  • Who will stop John Wall? D'Antoni announced today that there won't be any changes to the starting lineup, so does Toney Douglas guard John Wall? I'm sure Iman Shumpert will get some time guarding him, as they match up well, but Wall is like 358 times stronger, quicker, and more athletic than Douglas or Landry Fields.
  • I'm going to predict either Andray Blatche: Superstar or Jordan Crawford: Superstar. Opposing power forwards tend to have their way with Stoudemire (Boris Diaw, for example), and Blatche seems like just that type of bloke. Then again, Jordan Crawford is an athletic youngster who knows not of a shooting conscience, and if the Knicks are looking lackadaisical on defense, he may go all Gerald Henderson on our asses.

Washington Wizards Scouting Report
  • Nick Young has flip-flopped between starting and coming off the bench this season, but either way, he is a scoring machine at the 2-guard position. However, Young can be streaky - a tendency that really bothers coach Flip Saunders. To try and motivate Young to score, Saunders stashes a surprise snack in Young's afro and tells him that after each made basket he can have some of the snack. This plan failed though when Saunders put white cheddar popcorn in Nick's hair because Nick HATES white cheddar popcorn.
  • Rashard Lewis plays the role of a stretch 4 on the Wizards, often camping out at the 3-point line waiting for kick-outs. However, Lewis is only shooting 25% from 3 this season. He attributes that to defenders violating "Rashard's Bubble", which is a 4-foot perimeter that people aren't supposed to enter when he's shooting.
  • With Roger Mason Jr. and Maurice Evans on the Wizards, they have two of the vice presidents of the NBPA. When forward Kevin Seraphin showed up at training camp and saw both of them in the locker room, he thought that the Wizards had become a debate team, which excited him; Seraphin was on his high school debate team. Despite his teammates constant reminders that they are not a debate team, Seraphin still likes to makes quips like, "Is that a rhetorical question?" or "What do you think of that?"

Ronny Turiaf Discusses the Wizards' Weaknesses
Ronny Turiaf recently broke his hand and is out 5-6 weeks, but that hasn't stopped Turiaf from analyzing what the Wizards could improve on. He gave some thoughts:
 Hmmm, yes, well first there is this man, McVale JaGee. He is a good shot-blocker, but he jump too high too often. I think if the Tall Bean Long Jumper - that is my nickname for him - stays on the wooden ground longer, instead of chasing blocks, then he can help the defense inside. 
There are also two men whom play the guards: Jordan Young and Nick Crawford. They are good scorers, but need to pass the big orange more! Mr. Jonathan Wall, the Gliding General, should have the ball in his hands more often, so he can create for the two winged ones.

The team is still young and needs to learn more about the basketball game. They still are only Wizard Pups and must become knowledgable and older Wizards such as mon prefere Wizard, the White Gandalf from Ring Lords. I also like Bumbledore from Harrison Potter but do not find him to be as wise as the Gandalf in Ring Lords. The Wizard Pups still have long journey to make before becoming good playoff team, but the talent and magic are brewing!

Now we're ready for the game! The Knicks need a win! As mentioned before, the Knicks still have some easier games remaining before they face some tough opponents like the 76ers, Grizzlies, Thunder, and Magic. A loss tonight would spell trouble for the team.

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