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Wizards-Knicks Preview

AP - Sports

John Wall has already taken advantage of a New York Knicks team playing without Raymond Felton.

Now the question is whether the Washington Wizards will survive if Nene misses a fourth straight game due to a foot injury.

The Wizards have lost four straight overall and dropped 10 in a row at Madison Square Garden heading into Monday night's matchup.

Wall had 31 points and seven assists to lead Washington (9-13) to a 98-89 home win over New York on Nov. 23. The Knicks played that game without Felton, and his replacement at the point, Beno Udrih, made 1 of 7 shots and finished with two points.

Wall admitted that New York (7-16) is not the same without Felton, who is currently out with a strained left hamstring.

"We know it's a different team without Raymond," Wall said, "because Raymond does a great job of penetrating and getting shots for those guys."

The Wizards again proved to be a different team without Nene in Saturday's 113-97 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Washington has lost seven in a row when Nene doesn't play and is 3-24 without the Brazilian forward since the beginning of last season.

The club is also without Bradley Beal, who has not played since the victory over the Knicks due to a stress injury in his right leg.

Coach Randy Wittman didn't want to blame the absences for his team's second four-game slide of the season. The Wizards fell twice in overtime and once by one point in the other defeats during the current skid.

"Bradley and Nene are obviously important parts of our team but that's not an excuse," Wittman said. "You guys can write all you want about that. I don't want our guys to feel that, we had three games we should have won going into this game."

Wall will likely have a point-guard matchup this time with Pablo Prigioni, who made his third straight start Saturday and had 11 points in a 111-106 home victory over Atlanta.

Carmelo Anthony scored 35 and Andrea Bargnani added 23, but the story of the game afterward was a second straight two-point effort from J.R. Smith.

Smith took just one shot in Friday's 90-86 defeat at Boston after reportedly having an argument with coach Mike Woodson earlier in the week. One night later, Smith made his first start since Nov. 16 but sat out the entire fourth quarter in favor of rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., who missed all three of his shots and had one point in the period.

Hardaway had 12 points entering the fourth.

"It's not a thing of benching him," Woodson said. "Timmy was playing pretty good basketball and I decided to go with Timmy and Iman (Shumpert)."

One Wizards player unhappy with his role is center Marcin Gortat, who struggled with six points on 3-of-10 shooting Saturday.

"I don't like the position I play," Gortat said. "I'm constantly drifting more and more away from the basket and quite honestly, that's not my game. ... I just think I've got to talk to Coach and just clear things up."

Washington's last win at MSG was a 113-102 victory Dec. 6, 2006. Four of New York's starters from that game are no longer in the NBA.

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