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New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards: Preseason Matchups We Can't Wait to See

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  (L-R) Carmelo Anthony #7 and Amare Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks react on court in the second half against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
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Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

The 2012 NBA preseason kicks off for the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards on Thursday night. The excitement surrounding the return of basketball has fans, coast-to-coast, ready to explode.

The Knicks travel to Washington to square off with a Wizards team missing their biggest offensive star, John Wall, in one of the first great matchups.

Make no mistake, with the improved play of the core superstars in New York, this should be a great preview for the regular season.

Both teams have tons of new faces on their rosters. This will be the first taste the NBA fans get of the new landscape of the league.

 

Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal vs. Everyone

The Washington Wizards have one of the best tandems at shooting guard in the NBA with rookie Bradley Beal and veteran Jordan Crawford.

With Beal showcasing his skills in the NBA Summer League and Crawford ready to become the veteran presence the Wizards will lean on while John Wall is out, Washington could be a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.

Injuries to starters Emeka Okafor and Nenê have derailed much of the hope ahead of the season, but it will be the stellar play of Crawford and Beal that keeps this team in contention.

 

Trevor Ariza vs. Carmelo Anthony

One of the most underrated players on the Wizards roster this year will be veteran Trevor Ariza.

The defensive small forward will have the job of defending the deepest position in the league while still adding to the team offensively and on the glass. The first test of Ariza’s career in Washington will be defending Knicks stud Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony has worked during the offseason to get stronger after winning the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. With a desire for NBA glory, Ariza better bring his best because Anthony will be bringing his.

As good of a defender as Ariza is, Anthony will pick him apart.

 

New Amar'e Stoudemire vs. Old Amar'e Stoudemire

After spending the offseason learning under NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, Amar'e Stoudemire returns to New York with high hopes and even higher expectations for himself.

Everyone, from the Knicks owner to the fans, is expecting a huge year from the power forward.

Stoudemire averaged just 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2011-12, a season that was marred by injuries and left in turmoil after turnover in the coaching ranks and on the roster.

Not this year, though.

With more stability and time to come together, the veteran power forward will prove his game really is new and improved.

 

Check back for more on the National Basketball Association as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NBA page to get your fill of all things basketball.

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