Tag Archives: New York Knicks
The Teams: Washington Wizards (1-12) @ New York Knicks (10-4)
The Location: Madison Square Gardens, New York, New York.
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
TV, Radio: CSNW, 106.7 FM
The History: Over 276 regular season games, the New York Knicks hold a significant advantage, winning 164 games to Washington’s 112.
The Washington Wizards, a day removed from their relieving 84-82 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (their first of the season), travel to New York to take on a Knicks team that has cooled off significantly as of late. Although they beat the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night, they have lost three of their last five games played. Admittedly, all of those losses have come on the road, but two of them were against teams without a winning record (Dallas and Houston). Needless to say, they haven’t been playing particularly well after starting the season off on a nine-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, the Wizards are on their first win streak of the season. It wasn’t pretty against Portland, and they almost blew a fifteen point lead in the process, but it was their first victory. My guess is that the Washington Wizards would like to compliment that win with yet another one, but nothing about this season has proven to be predictable except for losses. Jordan Crawford had the hot hand against the Blazers, scoring 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. He’ll look to ignite Washington’s offense yet again, as they’ll need it going up against a Knicks team that ranks fourth in the league in scoring at 102 points per game.
Why you should watch: A possible win streak against a team that may actually be beatable
I know it sounds ridiculous that a Wizards team that has lost 12 games this season while only winning one of those, but it’s actually possible. New York hasn’t been playing that well in the past week, as they’ve given up 96 or more points in four of their last five games. Teams that give up 100 points or more consistently can sometimes be beaten when their shots aren’t falling. If Carmelo Anthony, the team’s leading scorer and potential MVP candidate, and his shots don’t go down then the Wizards might be able to catch them off guard. That being said, considering ‘Melo has shot 50% or better in 7 of the 14 games that he’s played this season, it’s easier said than done.
But even if Carmelo Anthony does score, there’s a chance that the Wizards could still win by minimizing the impact of some of New York’s other players. Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith, New York’s second and third leading scorer, are streaky shooters at best. Neither one is setting the world on fire, either, with both shooting 42% from the floor. If the Wizards can keep those two away from the three point line, then they may stand a chance at shutting down this offense altogether.
Yes, New York is balanced, but they’re also very streaky and when the three ball isn’t falling, they are prone to losing games.
Key Points and Storylines
1.) Jordan Crawford has to keep his hot hand going
When Jordan Crawford is actually hitting his shots, the Washington Wizards become a team that is capable of competing offensively with other teams, which given the defense they’ve been playing, is really all they need. Crawford has unfortunately not fared too well against the New York Knicks historically; he is shooting a woeful 23% from the field against them in 3 games over his career. Worse still, his road performance has been only slightly better this season; he’s hitting only 38.9% from the floor over six games. That really doesn’t bode well for the Wizards hopes of success.
Then again, Crawford is capable of going on five or six game hot streaks from the floor, as he did late last season where he had that many games shooting 45% or better from the field. Quite frankly, that’s all we’re asking out of the guy — go on a hot streak and establish yourself as a potent scorer. If he can do that against a Knicks team that will give him those kind of shots, then the Wizards may be in some luck.
2.) Kevin Seraphin and Nene have to use their athleticism tonight
The two best low post scorers for the Wizards are going to be facing a tough task tonight against one of the more impressive front court units in the NBA. Tyson Chandler is an expert at clogging up the lane for opposing big men, and Rasheed Wallace has channeled Father Time and asked for a career revival on the defensive end. Between those two, the Knicks have a front court capable of making life difficult for anyone with their length. In Nene and Seraphin, the Wizards have two guys who can score down low, but are considerably less vertically talented as Chandler and Wallace, meaning they will have to be crafty to score without being blocked.
Nene and Seraphin are both more athletic and quicker than their counterparts, so they may be able to sneak in a few baskets. They also have relatively decent shots from midrange, so that could force Chandler and Wallace to venture a bit further out from the hoop. Doing that would open up the lane for Crawford and (hopefully) Beal to slash the lane. If they can manage that, the Wizards will be headed towards another victory.
Prediction: Washington probably doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with a Knicks team, and a loss after their first win seems entirely probable.
Knicks win 100-92
After an Olympic break from Diming, I’ve decided to pick up where I left off by examining league-wide offseason activity. And with the happenings over the last two weeks, it made it a perfect time to get back on the horse. The Atlantic Division has spent the summer of 2012 constantly in the headlines. With multiple trades and free agent acquisitions, the Atlantic’s members have had a very busy offseason. In fact, each of the division’s five members has seen major roster overhauls and the addition of at least one player expected to take on a key role in 2012-13. Last year’s winner, the Celtics, have lost a member of its Big Three to the newest Big Three in Miami. However, they bolstered their roster with young players through the draft and the addition of sixth man extraordinaire, Jason “the Jet” Terry. The constantly scrutinized Knicks decided against bringing back Linsanity for an encore, and instead brought in veteran backcourt of Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton. The 76ers finally decided to part ways with the underappreciated Andre Iguodala in a shocking move by joining in the fun of getting the better of new Magic GM, Rob Hennigan, in the Dwight Howard trade. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out how the Magic traded Howard for Bynum, yet somehow ended up getting Arron Afflalo and let Bynum head to Philly but that’s a story for another column (a shameless plug for the Southeast division’s recap to follow). Raptor fans (they exist, right?) no longer have to wait for last year’s highly drafted Jonas Valanciunas, as he will make his NBA debut this season. They also added veterans Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields to a team clearly hoping to try and stay afloat in this extremely competitive division. With the Barclay’s Center expected to open to start the season, the Nets are now official residents of Brooklyn. Although they really blew it with the new logo, they did manage to get a second star (although you could argue there isn’t a more over rated “star” than Joe Johnson) via trade to ensure they could lock up free agent Deron Williams long-term. All-in-all it has been a very eventful offseason in the Atlantic division. Now a let’s take a closer look at the happenings for each of the division’s members:
Tags: Amare Stoudamire, Andrew Bynum, Atlantic Division, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, joe johnson, nba free agency, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Ray Allen, toronto raptors
According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, Mike D’Antoni has resigned as the head coach of the New York Knicks.
This is obviously huge news, as functional NBA teams rarely fire coaches in the middle of the season. The exception, of course, would be your Washington Wizards (fired Flip Saunders on Jan. 24)., the Sacramento Kings (fired Paul Westphal on Jan. 5), and now the Knicks.
It’s a sign that things had gone pretty sour, pretty quickly in that locker room, beginning with the arrival of star forward Carmelo Anthony midway through last season. Anthony, whose iso-driven style of play clashed with D’Antoni’s wide-open offensive system, was rumored to have created a rift amongst the team. He was clearly unhappy with the way the situation was being handled, and it looks like Anthony got his wish by ushering a change of scenery for D’Antoni (a man notorious for unchanging beliefs).
The Knicks were already in a free fall, having lost 6 straight games, and 8 out of their last 10 since the return of Carmelo Anthony. Even Linsanity is unlikely to right this ship, as the news of D’Antoni’s firing is likely to incense the rest of the team. A’mare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, after all, signed with the Knicks expecting to play for D’Antoni. Even Jeremy Lin thrived in the system, but that is likely to change with interim coach and former Atlanta Hawks coach, Mike Woodson.
D’Antoni finishes his coaching stint with the Knicks after 4 years, going 121-167 with the only playoff appearance being a first round exit against the Celtics last season.
What’s it mean for the Wizards:
It means that if Randy Wittman doesn’t keep his job next season, the smartest move for the Washington Wizards would be to snatch up Mike D’Antoni in a heartbeat.
“The guy wasn’t even a .500 coach for the Knicks,” you say? True enough, but try being a .500 coach when your players are below the Mendoza Line talent-wise and ownership tries everything to get what the fans want; not what the team actually needed, which was stability.
Mike D’Antoni is a fantastic coach, and one whom the Wizards should give the keys to the franchise in order to help build up along with a competent GM. His young Phoenix Suns teams led by Steve Nash were stocked with talent, and from 2004-2008, never won less than 54 games. They went to back-to-back conference finals and lost both times to great teams in Dallas and San Antonio.
Certainly, it’s a PG-friendly system in which John Wall can thrive as a player. It turned Steve Nash into a two-time MVP, and it could benefit Wall in the same manner. Not only that, but the entire offensive system is excellent at improving the abilities of not-incredibly-talented players. It works to the strengths of 3-point shooters like Roger Mason and Nick Young. It allows a ton of shots to be created through speedy possessions, and would suit Young (again) and Crawford incredibly well until replacement players come along. Even better, it is a huge boon for big men who run the floor exceptionally well and can utilize the pick-and-roll. The Wizards happen to have two big men who can do that in JaVale McGee and Jan Vesely.
Furthermore, it doesn’t require a whole lot of defense. None, if we’re being exact. It’s a free-flowing system that assumes that D’Antoni’s team is going to score a lot more than the opponent. It has varying results come playoff time, but it’s not like the Wizards are All-World defenders anyway. Perhaps for the time being, that should not be their strong suit.
All I’m saying is that Ted Leonsis should already be on the phone with D’Antoni, asking him out to dinner. Because if the Wizards can manage to nab this coach, the rebuilding process speeds up considerably, as does the team. Think playing in Mike D’Antoni’s system isn’t a huge plus in the eyes of tons of players? He is absolutely amazing at making players better than they appear. Joe Johnson, who currently plays for the Atlanta Hawks, is a product of the system. Free agents love to play for this guy, and it’d be nice to have something attractive to offer them. D’Antoni is the guy for that job.