The New York Knicks (30-28) are coming off a huge win against the Milwaukee Bucks behind Carmelo Anthony, and the team will look to keep the momentum going against the Washington Wizards (14-44) on Friday night.
With Washington just 6-23 on the road, it's going to be especially important for New York to avoid the trap and come out with a win at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony poured in 32 points in the crucial win over the Bucks, but six different Knicks players (including Melo) scored in double figures, a big reason why New York was able to emerge with the victory.
Although the Wizards have just 14 wins all season, Washington is riding a two-game winning streak and will have had two full days off before the matchup in New York.
Where: Madison Square Garden — New York, NY
When: Friday, April 13, 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: MSG (Knicks), CSW (Wizards)
Can the Knicks avoid an upset? Predict the winner.
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Listen: 1050 AM (New York), 106.7 FM (Washington)
Betting Line: Not available, according to Bovada.lv at 7:30 a.m. on 4/12
Key Injuries: Jeremy Lin (knee), Amar'e Stoudemire (back), Rashard Lewis (knee), Trevor Booker (plantar fasciitis), Nene (foot)
What They're Saying
Carmelo Anthony was feeling good following New York's win over Milwaukee, and that's for good reason considering what was at stake.
The Knicks padded their lead over the Bucks in the standings, and it's obvious that Anthony is enjoying his tenure at power forward with the small lineup New York is utilizing right now.
“We feel good,” Anthony said after another clutch fourth-quarter effort. “We feel good about ourselves. We feel good about this win, especially a road win against a team that is right behind us. But it’s not over yet. We’ve still got a couple of games to go and we’ll see what happens.”
It's important for New York to maintain that attitude, as there remains a long road ahead.
Most Important Player to Watch: Tyson Chandler, C, New York Knicks
Chandler is gaining steam as a favorite to take home the Defensive Player of the Year award, but that's not the sole reason he's highlighted here.
Washington utilizes big men who are undersized compared to the height and length of Chandler, and he's going to have to be able to use that competitive advantage against the Wizards.
The free-agent acquisition had 19 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting (7-of-7 from the foul line) in 39 minutes against Milwaukee, and he'll need a similarly dominant effort against Washington to avoid an upset.
Key Matchup: John Wall vs. Iman Shumpert
Baron Davis saw less than 25 minutes of playing time on Wednesday due to a stiff neck, and Iman Shumpert saw a ton of time (42 minutes) in the backcourt.
With the rookie's ability to defend multiple positions well, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him matched up against Wall early and often throughout the contest.
Because Wall has the ability to penetrate into the lane and make plays, Shumpert's lateral speed will be key to keeping Wall out of the paint.
If the Knicks can force Wall to settle for perimeter jumpers and prevent him from getting into the heart of the defense inside, it could be an extremely long night for the Wizards.
Knicks 104, Wizards 88