Tuesday, April 9, 2013
W2W4: Knicks vs. Wizards
By Jared Zwerling
Entering Tuesday, the Knicks have not only won 12 consecutive games -- tied for the third-longest winning streak in franchise history -- but they've beaten the Wizards 11 times in their past 12 meetings.
Here are three things to watch for at the Garden, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET:
1. WWMD (What Would Melo Do?):Carmelo Anthony has scored at least 35 points in four straight games -- the longest streak by a Knicks player since Bernard King (five games) in December 1984. Anthony has been so money that he now leads the NBA in points per game, separating himself from Kevin Durant by just 0.09 points (28.44 to 28.35).
On Tuesday, coach Mike Woodson said Anthony's recent tear has been "sweet" to watch.
"He's been great for me all along, but during this stretch, he's been really good," he said. "He's going to have to continue to be good for us to get where we're going. I mean, it's going to take a total team effort, but we've got to keep him playing at a high level for us."
2. Raymond Felton's continued attack mode. While the point guard's scoring lately has been a bit lower than his season average (14.1), he's gradually picked up his assist and steals numbers in April (six assists and 1.8 steals per game). Felton has been playing much more aggressively on both ends, especially getting into the paint consistently and making efficient passes in traffic.
On Sunday against the Thunder, the Knicks scored 125 points and committed only six turnovers. On one possession down the stretch, Felton drove hard into the paint and kicked the ball out to J.R. Smith while falling down. Smith's 3-pointer iced the game.
On Tuesday, Woodson raved about Felton's extra penetration and the team's upstart offense.
"He's been great," he said. "I mean, we're back to playing offensively how we played early in the season, and defensively we're even better than we played early this season. I think our point differential now is about plus-12 points in our favor. We average right at 104 points in this stretch and giving up 92 points, so to me that's a sign of commitment and guys doing what's asked of them. You're going to need that kind of play as we finish the season and carry on into the playoffs."
3. Build a Wall. With the exception of Anthony in the East, there arguably has been no hotter player than Wizards point guard John Wall, who's been averaging 24.8 points, 8.6 assists and 1.5 steals since March 12. During that stretch, Wall has been averaging nearly seven made free throws per game, and the Wizards have upset the Bucks, Lakers, Grizzlies, Bulls and Pacers (in that order).
The one loss the Knicks suffered at the hands of the Wizards in their past 12 matchups was Feb. 6, when Wall played and had a big game (21 points and nine assists) after returning from a knee injury.