Monday, December 16, 2013
W2W4: Knicks vs. Wizards
By Ian Begley
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight's Knicks-Wizards game:
What's up with J.R.? On Friday, J.R. Smith took just one shot against the Celtics. The next night, Mike Woodson benched him for the fourth quarter after he shot 1-for-8 earlier in the game.
Smith and Woodson, according to a New York Daily News report, got into an argument over shot selection after the Knicks' loss to the Bulls. So that makes you wonder if there is a growing rift between player and coach. It will be interesting to see how Woodson uses Smith tonight. More importantly for the Knicks though, is this: when will J.R. start making shots? So far this season the reigning sixth man award winner has averaged just 10.1 points on 33 percent shooting. Last season, Smith scored 18.1 points on 42 percent shooting.
The Great Wall: The last time the Knicks faced Washington's John Wall, he torched them for 31 points and seven assists. New York didn't have Raymond Felton that night. So they relied on Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih to slow Wall down. But it didn't happen.
Felton's out tonight with a hamstring injury. So it will be up to Prigioni and Udrih to take on Wall once again. Wall is simply too fast for the 36-year-old Prigioni or the 31-year-old Udrih. So Woodson may choose to put Iman Shumpert on him. The last time the Knicks and Wizards played, Shumpert was stuck on Bradley Beal. But Beal will not play Monday. So Shumpert, in theory, could be free to guard Wall. Toure' Murry should also get a crack at Wall, but Woodson has been hesitant to play the rookie in competitive situations.
No Nene? The Knicks may catch a break tonight, however. Washington big man Nene may sit out due to a foot injury. Nene has missed three straight games. Washington has lost four straight. The Wizards have also lost ten in a row at Madison Square Garden, according to STATS, LLC. 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, per STATS LLC.