Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 14th game of the season against the Knicks in New York are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It), guest Dion Black, who writes about the Knicks for the ESPN TrueHoop blog Knickerblogger.net, and TAI’s John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend), who bookends the post with his game prediction.
Wizards Starters (1-12):
A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Kevin Seraphin, Emeka Okafor
Knicks Starters (10-4):
Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony, Kurt Thomas, Tyson Chandler
Q #1: What have you done for me lately?
(What’s the status of the Knicks over the past week?)
Dion Black: Uneven.
The Knicks played only seven games in the first 15 days of the season. For a team missing two of its top six rotation players, the extra rest is a good thing. Not only because the Knicks are one of the oldest teams in the league, but also because the schedule allowed the team to hold regular practices. This helped the team refine the crisp ball movement, efficient scoring and strong team defense that got the Knicks off the best start of any team this year.
Take away that practice time, and you get a Knick team that has lost three of the last five, all of which were on the road. Add to that Jason Kidd missing two games—and possibly a few more—with back spasms, J.R. Smith suffering through the early stages of nightlife withdrawal, and Carmelo Anthony leaning a bit more heavily on his jumper than his drive, and the end result is a team that doesn’t look like they’ve played together very much.
Q #2: Who threw out my alarm clock?
(Which player(s) are we sleeping on?)
Dion Black: Tyson Chandler.
Everyone expects defense and rebounds from Chandler, but people keep forgetting that he is an amazing finisher. Chandler leads the league in True Shooting Percentage (.760) and Effective Field Percentage (.718) by a wide margin. Chandler is also hitting his free throws this year (.793) at a career-best clip. Much of the conversation about the Knicks’ offensive efficiency centers on Anthony, Kidd and Smith, but Chandler really deserves more praise than anyone.
Q #3: What game-within-the-game counts most?
(What matchup between two players or between each team in a particular statistical category is most important.)
Dion Black: Offensive efficiency.
The best indicator of whether a team will win any particular game is how many points a team can get out of each possession. The Knicks are second in the NBA in Offensive Rating (112.2 points per 100 possessions ). Meanwhile the Wizards are 30th (95.9 point per 100 possessions).
The Wizards are not a bad defensive squad. Their Defensive Rating is 103.9 (14th). I’m interested in who Coach Randy Wittman will throw at Anthony. Ariza seems the logical choice, but you never know what Wittman is going to do.
Q #4: How it’s going down?
(TAI’s general key to the game.)
@Truth_About_It: Oh, this game is going down, that’s for sure. It’s going to happen. But it ain’t going to be good for the Wizards. The Knicks are the best 3-point shooting team in the NBA (well, they make the most 3s per game, 11.6, and shoot the second best percentage in the league, 41.7 percent). New York also sports the best assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.70. Thus, they rank lowest in the NBA in opponent points allowed off turnovers—the Knicks only allow 13.3 points per game off their turnovers while they score 18.9 points per game off opponent turnovers (fifth best). It all adds up to a bloody mess for the Wiz Kids, who might leave Madison Square Garden as demoralized as they’ve been all year.
The Knicks are favored by 12.5 points and the over/under is 190.5 points (via USA Today).
Dion Black: We are looking at two of the slower paced teams in the NBA (Knicks 27th, Wizards 28th). The slow pace, the Knicks low turnover rate, and the Wizard’s difficulty scoring tells me Wizards won’t get enough possessions to put up more than 85 points. Scoring will be an issue as long as John Wall is out. Knicks 93 Wizards 84.
@Truth_About_It: The Wizards respectfully keep it close to single digits, but go down losing by 11 to the Knicks, 110-99.
@JohnCTownsend: You know what they say, history tends to repeat itself. And history has not been kind to the Washington Wizards. The Wiz have lost nine straight games to the Knicks, eight of those coming in Madison Square Garden, by an average of 14 points. No doubt: The Knicks will extend the NBA’s longest active winning streak against a single team to 10 games. Wizards lose their 13th game of the season, 92-107.