Knicks-Wizards Preview

The Associated Press

The problems for the New York Knicks at this time are not as bad as those for the Washington Wizards.

These struggling teams meet Friday night at the Verizon Center, with the Knicks seeking to defeat the winless Wizards for the seventh straight meeting.

New York (2-4) turned in its worst defensive effort of the season in Wednesday's 118-110 home loss to Charlotte. The Bobcats' point total, 55.3 shooting percentage and 47 baskets were season highs for a Knicks' opponent.

"I think we just gotta get on the same page, defensively and offensively right now," center Tyson Chandler said. "We're out of sync, we're just having way too many breakdowns."

Washington (0-6) and its struggling offense may provide the perfect opponent for New York to get back on track. The Wizards are off to their worst start in franchise history and averaging 85.2 points for the NBA's second-worst mark.

The club's 34.5 percent shooting in the first quarter is also better than only New Jersey. The Wizards fell behind 31-14 after one quarter as they missed their first 12 shots in Wednesday's 103-85 loss at Orlando.

"We're gonna have to do something with our start,'' coach Flip Saunders said. "Whether its personnel wise or whatever. But somehow we've got to have some juice to start games."

The Knicks swept three meetings with the Wizards last season, with Amare Stoudemire averaging 28.0 points on 55.2 percent shooting and 7.7 rebounds.

Stoudemire returned Wednesday after missing two games with a sprained left ankle and had season highs of 25 points and 12 boards.

"(The) ankle feels great so it's good that I'm back 100 percent," Stoudemire said.

The Knicks trailed by 17 points at halftime of Monday's 90-85 loss to Toronto and were behind by double digits through most of the fourth quarter Wednesday. Carmelo Anthony had 32 points against the Raptors.

"It's a long process," said Anthony, who is among the league leaders with his 27.8 scoring average. "In the meantime, we've gotta stay positive, stick together and get ready for the Wizards."

Washington, meanwhile, barely has a scorer in the top 50, with Nick Young averaging a team-high 14.2 points. No Wizards starter besides center JaVale McGee is shooting better than 37.5 percent.

The Wizards average 14.8 assists for the Eastern Conference's worst mark.

"It's everything,'' point guard John Wall said. "We go over everything on defense in the shootaround, but we didn't do it out there. You see what happened to us. Once everybody started being selfish on offense, (and) then on the defensive end we're not trusting each other."

Andray Blatche has been among numerous Wizards enduring disappointing starts, and said he was one of the players who was called out in a players-only meeting called Thursday by veteran Maurice Evans. Blatche said his teammates got on him for wanting the ball in the post and then taking ''lazy jump shots'' instead.

''They can't have that. I took that as: 'You're right,'" Blatche said. "If my teammates are saying that, then I have no reason but to agree with them and work to get better.''

This contest pits teams that are among the NBA's worst at defending on 3-pointers, with Washington allowing opponents to shoot 38.3 percent and New York 42.5.

That was a factor in the 2010-11 season series in favor of the Knicks, who shot 38.2 percent on 3s - making 29 of them - and limited the Wizards, who made 14 of theirs, to 29.8.