Knicks-Wizards Preview


A road trip might be exactly what the New York Knicks need, considering their inability to win on their own floor. Opening against the Washington Wizards should help before the competition gets a lot tougher.

After extending their losing streak at home to six games, the Knicks will try to continue their recent dominance of the Wizards when they begin a four-game swing Saturday night.

The Knicks (3-8) were in control throughout Wednesday's game against Indiana before the Pacers rallied late in regulation and dominated overtime for a 103-96 victory.

New York, which opened the game on a 13-0 run, held an 89-86 lead with 9.2 seconds left, but Iman Shumpert fouled George Hill on a 3-point attempt and Hill sank all three free throws to force the extra period.

"It don't really matter what I think or what happened," said Shumpert, who appeared to barely touch George in TV replays. "They called the foul."

The Knicks seemed completely deflated after Hill's clutch shooting from the line and went on to play a lethargic overtime.

"I thought we had the game won," said Carmelo Anthony, who had 30 points and a season-best 18 rebounds. "And in overtime, I don't know, they just walked away with it."

J.R. Smith added 21 points and Beno Udrih had a season-high 19 for the Knicks, who remained winless at home since a season-opening victory over Milwaukee on Oct. 30.

The Knicks were again without injured starters Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, while Amare Stoudemire also didn't play on the second night of a back-to-back.

New York has displayed a far more aggressive defense on the road than at home this season. The Knicks are allowing 105.1 points per game at home - the third-highest average in the NBA - but have given up just 89.0 while going 2-2 on the road.

The Knicks will need to maintain that trend to have any chance on a trip that also features games against Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver - three of the top eight scoring teams in the league.

But first up are the Wizards, who have lost 12 of their last 13 against New York. Washington won the only game in which it cracked 100 points during that span - a 106-96 home victory on Feb. 6 that ended a 10-game skid in the series.

Anthony has averaged 32.3 points in his last three against Washington, including 36 on 13-for-21 shooting in only 30 minutes in a 120-99 win April 9 in the last meeting.

The Wizards (4-8) snapped a two-game winning streak with Friday's 96-88 loss in Toronto, despite a season-high 37 points from John Wall.

"It was great but it doesn't mean anything when you don't come out with a win," Wall said. "We didn't make the right plays down the stretch."

It was the ninth time Wall has scored 30 or more. His career high is 47, set March 25 against Memphis.

"John had a good game tonight but it's not about who had a good game, it's about winning and losing," coach Randy Wittman said. "That's what we've got to focus on."

Bradley Beal added 17 points and Nene chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who were held below 90 points for only the second time this season.

Wall has averaged 18.7 points over nine career games against the Knicks, with his best performance against them coming in the April 9 loss. He hit 11 of 19 shots and finished with 33 points.

Washington opens a brief two-game homestand that concludes Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Wizards play six of their next eight at home.