Those feelings are likely tempered, however, as New York waits to see if two key players will be available.
The Knicks (17-26) have dropped seven of their last 10, and went 2-3 on their recent homestand, which included a 50-point loss to Dallas on Sunday and a 106-104 defeat to Toronto on Thursday.
The Knicks took a five-point lead late, but the Raptors went on an 8-0 run to make it 105-102 with 15.9 seconds left. David Lee(notes) finished with 29 points and 18 rebounds, and Al Harrington(notes) added 20 points.
The loss ruined another big night for Lee, who shot 61.9 percent. He’s averaging 23.1 points over the last eight games, and has scored 28 or more in three of the last four contests.
Jeffries, the Knicks’ top defensive player, missed the second half Thursday because of a hyperextended right knee. An MRI exam Friday confirmed a bone bruise. Harrington, who is second on the team in scoring with 17.9 points per game, said after the game his left knee has been hurting, but further testing revealed only soreness.
Coach Mike D’Antoni was optimistic Friday about both playing.
“Jared is day-to-day and today I expect him to play,” D’Antoni told the Knicks’ official Web site. “I might be a little over optimistic, but … I think he’ll play. And Al, I think (he will play). Today was a day of rest, but I think both of them will be OK.”
After facing the Wizards (15-30), New York, which has lost three of four on the road, visits the Western Conference-worst Timberwolves on Sunday.
The Knicks’ four-game winning streak over the Wizards ended with a 96-89 loss on Jan. 16, 2009 in Washington.
The Wizards return home following an 81-79 victory at New Jersey on Friday. Playing its first game since the NBA suspended Gilbert Arenas(notes) and Javaris Crittenton(notes) for the remainder of the season for bringing guns into the locker room, Washington snapped a four-game losing streak.
Although they gave up their fewest points this season, the Wizards were held to 88 or less for the third time in four games.
Leading scorer Antawn Jamison(notes) (21.5 ppg) finished with nine on 3-of-13 shooting. He’s been held to single digits in three of his last five games, but could be poised to break out of that rut. Jamison is averaging 26.0 points and shooting 55.4 percent in his last four home games against the Knicks.
The Wizards have lost four straight at the Verizon Center.