The Knicks struggled to get by the Wizards in Washington earlier this season. Tonight, the Bockers will go to battle without their two superstars, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Enter the Jeremy Lin show. The Knicks whirling dervish of a point guard has been simply unbelievable the past two games, averaging 26.5 points per game and 7.5 assists per game. Also a key contributor as of late, Jared Jeffries has been nothing short of fantastic the past couple of games. The Knicks will need both players to step up if they are going to beat the floundering Wizards tonight.
Here’s what to watch for:
- Tyson Chandler’s foul trouble. With the Knicks having both Stoudemire and Anthony out, the Knicks will once again lean upon their big money center. Chandler has had a fantastic season this year, averaging 11.4 ppg and 9.9 rebounds per game. Obviously the Knicks won’t post up Chandler, as his post moves are worse than Charles Barkley’s golf swing, but they can get him easy points on alley oop dunks and the pick and roll. Chandler must stay out of foul trouble tonight in order to make an impact. The Knicks were able to get by Utah on Monday with Chandler playing 22 minutes but I don’t like their chances if their center can’t stay on the court.
- How will Lin fare on the road? Obviously Lin has been phenomenal the past two games but both games have been played at Madison Square Garden. Lin admitted to feeding off the garden crowd. That is all well and good and I love that the home crowd fires him up but I am interested to see what happens on the road. Now having to root for a pathetic Wizards team may drive the poor DC crowd to actually root FOR Lin but regardless he will not get nearly the same support on the road. I want to see what happens if he struggles a bit and doesn’t have the home backing to fire him up. I’m not saying Lin will struggle but this is a new page in his book. The emergence at the garden has passed and now Lin must perform on the road. There isn’t a better matchup for Lin to prove himself against then the 5-20 Wizards. Obviously John Wall will be a formidable opponent but Lin didn’t seem to have any problem staying in front of Deron Williams. I don’t expect him to have a problem against the wildly overrated John Wall.
- How will New York’s energy be tonight? The Knicks always seem to play up or down to the competition. They’ll beat a good team like Boston in the opener and then they’ll go to Golden State and lose. They’ve lost to Phoenix and Charlotte and Toronto at home but they can beat the Jazz without Anthony and Stoudemire. How will the Knicks effort be tonight against arguably the worst team in basketball. The Wizards haven’t been good since the days of Gilbert Arenas bussin guns in the locker room. The Wizards are the epitome of disfunction. They don’t play smart basketball. They have guys (yes, I’m talking about you Andray Blatche) who couldn’t spell defense much less play any of it. Rashard Lewis collects his fat contract money and then gives preschool level effort. The Wizards are a joke and they suck. Even without STAT and Melo the Knicks should win tonight. If not, I’ll go join Gilbert Arenas in a halfway house:
- Don’t sleep on Jared Jeffries, yes I said it, DO NOT SLEEP ON JARED JEFFRIES. Against the rumbling, stumbling, bumbling Gandolfs, Jeffries could draw 15 charges tonight. He has been absolutely fantastic defensively the past two games, drawing 8 charges. The much maligned Knick should be winning fans over with his effort and heart. I love his impact defensively on this team and I think he’s a key part of this team. Jeffries has even scored 22 points the past two games. I love what JJ is doing and I expect for him to keep it up.
- For more preview on tonights game, check out Chris Delgado and I talking Knicks tonight on spreecast at 5:30 eastern time. Here is the link.