Wizards (21-16) vs Knicks (18-19)
When: Wednesday, January 3rd at 7 p.m. Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. TV: NBC Sports Washington / Radio: 1500 AM
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles)
Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr (Out, Knee) , Ron Baker (Out, Left orbital fracture)
Bradley Beal was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week yesterday for the week of 12/25-12/31. Beal averaged 26.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting .467 from the field and .387 from three-point range to lead Washington to a 3-1 record during the week. It was his first Player of the Week award in his career.
Washington has won 13 of the last 14 games against the Knicks dating back to the 2013-14 season, including a 4-0 sweep last season.
The 13-1 mark by Washington is their best winning percentage against any Eastern Conference team over the last four seasons.
106.3 - points per game
104.0 - points against
45.9 - Field goal %
103.3 - points per game
103.6 - points against
46.3 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
Wall & Beal: Continue dominance on both ends. Simple enough? Against the Bulls, Beal scored 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter and held Justin Holiday, who scored 11 points early in the game scoreless for the remainder of the game while Wall, who was having his hands full for much of the game with promising second year point guard Kris Dunn, got key stops late and hit clutch free throws to close out Chicago, finishing with 21 points, 9 assist, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks. The team follows their lead and when they're bringing it on both ends, Washington becomes one of the top teams in the league.
NEW YORK'S FRONT COURT: Everything the Knicks do begins and ends with Kristaps Porzingis. 7'3 forward has emerged this season as a legit potential all star with averages of 24.1 points (14th in the NBA), 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks (tied for third in the NBA) per game. He presents numerous problems as he's too big for most bigs in the post, yet, has the ability to step out and knock down three pointers at a 36 percent clip, and if you foul him, he's shooting 83 percent from the line. What teams who have defended him successfully have done was put mobile forwards with strength on him as soon as he crosses half court to keep him perimeter based. In his match-up against the Celtics, Al Horford punished him as soon as he crossed half-court and stay attached to him throughout the possession, making it extremely uncomfortable for Porzingis. The result was Porzingis worst game, maybe, of his career with 1 points and 5 rebounds on 0-11 shooting. However, when Porzingis misses, often times, Enes Kanter is there to clean things up. Kanter has been a welcomed addition to New York due to his rough and rugged style in the paint and his willingness to play the enforcer role for this Knicks squad. Kanter is averaging a double double with 13.4 points and 10.1 rebounds on 59 percent shooting from the field and 89 percent shooting from the line which includes a 31 points, 22 rebounds performance against the Sixers with Embiid on the floor. Kanter can also step out and hit mid range jumpers with consistency as well . Look for Gortat and Mahinmi to draw Kanter on defense and Markieff Morris and Mike Scott to eye Porzingis throughout the night.
Contain Michael Beasley: Beasley has always been a walking bucket since he was playing youth basketball in the area. At 6'8, with three point range, ability to put the ball down and attack the basket, step out and hit mid range jumpers and post up, when Beasley gets going, it can be a long night and he can win a game by himself. Against the Celtics, with Porzingis struggling, Beasley went off for a season high 32 points including 28 in the second half, to lead New York to a 102-93 win. Beasley is averaging 11.5 points in 18.5 minutes of play on 51 percent shooting from the field. When he's on the floor, you have to account for him at all times. Expect Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre to be on Beasley tonight.