The Wizards (20-35) host the Knicks (19-37) in my adopted home town of Washington, DC. Both the Wizards and the Knicks changed their rosters before the trade deadline. Wizards sent Butler, Jamison, and Haywood out bringing back Josh Howard and some cap flexibility. So far it has worked out better for the Wizards than our Knicks in that the Wizards won a game since the trade deadline while the Knicks are still searching for a victory. This 8 game losing streak has been pretty sad.
What to watch for: Rebounding. The Knicks have not done well on the boards of late. The total rebounding is down compared to a month ago. Washington lost their best rebounders in the Haywood and Jamison trades. They waived Ilguaskas, leaving the team without a play that pulls down more than 7 boards per 36 minutes. The Knicks really need to work on securing defensive boards to limit second chances. The Wizards don’t shoot the ball well (24th in eFG%), so limiting the second chances is very important.
What to watch for 2: Wizards’ defense. The Wizards defend about as bad as the Knicks’. With their best post defender–Haywood–traded, the Wizards are without a defensive presence in the post. Al Thornton can block a few shots as a help defender but he isnt exactly Haywood. I know I’ve been screaming it all season, but the Knicks have to try to get inside.
What to watch for 3: Open casting call. Struggle or not, we need to see if we have anything in the young players we brought in. Maybe Bill Walker can show us something that makes Nate’s departure a bit easier to take. Hope to see he and Rodriguez continue to get playing time.