Knicks vs. Wizards – Madison Square Garden
When: Friday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The Knicks are enduring a grueling schedule and finding ways to win at home and on the road. On Wednesday, the squad overcame the absence of Jason Kidd and blasted the Bucks to improve to 10-4 on the season. Kidd is listed as day-to-day with lower back spasms, which forced New York to reconfigure the starting lineup against Milwaukee and Brooklyn. Kurt Thomas earned the starting nod on Wednesday but the Knicks relied on a heavy dose of Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, and Steve Novak to help counter the loss of the Hall of Fame point guard. As of Thursday night, the Knicks own the third spot in the Eastern Conference behind Brooklyn and Miami.
Washington: The rebuilding process for the Wizards hit a bit of a snag prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. John Wall was ruled out for eight weeks due to a knee injury. The setback hit hard in Washington as the franchise shipped out several players to find a successful new group that could improve on a 20-46 season. Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Rashard Lewis, and JaVale McGee are all gone and the team now features No. 3 overall pick Bradley Beal, Nene, Meka Okafor, and Trevor Ariza to complement Wall at the point guard spot. Washington struggled mightily out of the gate with an 0-12 start to the season. On Wednesday night, the Wizards snapped the skid against Portland but it will play four of the next six games on the road with games against the Knicks and Heat before facing the Lakers on December 14.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks bounced back from Monday’s loss in Brooklyn with a resounding 102-88 win in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Washington: Jordan Crawford scored 19 points in a close 84-82 win over the Blazers on Wednesday.
The Numbers Game
Some crazy Tyson Chandler stats to examine over his last six games, he is 32-of-36 from the floor, averaging 15.3 points, and 9.5 rebounds.
Match-up to Watch
Knicks Bench vs. Wizards Bench
Interesting enough, the Wizards are led by Jordan Crawford from an offensive standpoint. Crawford comes off the bench to average 12. 8 points per game while the team waits for another potent scorer to perform in the starting lineup. In fact, Washington’s bench crew will present a challenge for the Knicks second unit. Crawford, Chris Singleton, Jan Vessely, Nene, and Shaun Livingston can produce. New York will rely on J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Pablo Prigioni, and Rasheed Wallace to match the Wizards second group and potentially carry the home team to a victory.
What to Look For
Head coach Mike Woodson made some great adjustments on Wednesday night in Milwaukee. The head man placed Prigioni in the same backcourt as Raymond Felton to mirror the Jason Kidd / Felton dynamic that was so successful to start the season. As soon as Prigioni was paired with Felton against the Bucks, New York’s offense exploded and displayed improved ball movement. Steve Novak also had a big game in Wednesday’s victory. The sharpshooter is a necessary component to the Knicks offense if they want to compete for a title this season. Also, watch for the rebounding edge on Friday. One thing the Wizards do well is pound the glass, considering they rank No. 10 in the league with 43.2 boards per game.