Current Standings - New York – 2nd in the Eastern Conference (6.5 games behind Miami), 1st in the Atlantic Division (2 games ahead of Brooklyn) Washington – 13th in the Eastern Conference (10 games behind #8 seed Milwaukee).
Previous Meeting - New York fell to Washington 106-96, on February 6th, 2013.
What To Watch For - The Knicks have responded to their four game losing streak by winning back to back games over Philadelphia and Golden State. Tonight will be a golden chance to extend that winning streak to 3 before they head into their Sunday showdown against the Miami Heat. Carmelo Anthony has called this a payback game for the one the Knicks lost in DC a few weeks back when John Wall went off for 21 points and 9 assists. The Knicks need to come out with good energy and not allow the Wizards to hang around in front of their home crowd. Washington has won 3 of their last 4, including home wins over Denver and Houston.
Injury Update - New York - Marcus Camby will not play tonight but is expected back on Sunday against Miami . Washington - Outside of Nene remaining out, the Wizards should be at full strength in their regular rotation.
Key Matchup – John Wall vs. the Knicks Backcourt. The Knicks defense has slid substantially, particularly at slowing down Guards. Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith all need to improve and keep Wall out of the lane. Bradley Beal also has the ability to go off if the Knicks remain inattentive at times on defense.
Knicks Win If - They come out at the proper energy level and keep moving the ball well on offense. Carmelo Anthony needs to keep his head up and continue to find Amare Stoudemire and others for easy baskets when the defense is collapsing on him.
Wizards Win If - The Knicks come out lackadaisical and allow Washington to hang around into the 4th quarter. Jason Kidd continues to play extended minutes filled with bricks and nobody steps up to fill the scoring void if Carmelo Anthony goes cold for stretches.