Hello! Knicks-Wizards is a few hours away. This, the Knicks tell us, is a revenge game. The Wizards embarrassed the Knicks in early February-- I was there and can confirm it sucked-- by torching them in transition, hitting an absurd number of threes, and encouraging an awful shooting display on the other end. Now, the Wizards aren't bad anymore-- they've joined the top ranks of the league defensively and finished a tough February schedule 7-5. The Knicks feel very strongly that they should beat (and should have beaten) them, though, so we're seeing lines like this:
"I’m not thinking about Miami — there’s just one game on our minds, the Wizards,’’ Carmelo Anthony said. "That last time down there, we felt we should’ve won. So it’s a payback game.’’
In that last game, John Wall carved up New York's perimeter defense like so many before and after him while Washington as a team hit 11 of 20 three-pointers. The first thing is going to happen again if the Knicks don't tighten up their pick-and-roll coverage (something they have done recently, so that's somewhat promising). The second thing isn't likely to recur, but Martell Webster and the like do need to get closed out a bit better, and this time Bradley Beal will be available. He's been on a tear and has all the attributes necessary to kill New York. Nene, who kinda cleaned up inside in that last game, is a game-time decision.
On the other end, we have to assume from recent trends that New York won't shoot well from outside, so they've gotta keep pushing for free throws and tall-folk touches around the rim.
So, let's see how vengeful these Knicks can get. 7 PM is the time to do that. There'll be a game thread for yelling. See you then and there.