Wizards set to battle 'Melo, surging Knicks

Wizards set to battle 'Melo, surging Knicks
April 8, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Wizards vs. Knicks

At Madison Square Garden

TV: CSN, 7:30  p.m. ET

Season series: Knicks lead 2-1.

Last meeting: The Knicks won 96-88 on March 1 at Verizon Center, the last time Wizards lost on their home floor. F Carmelo Anthony led with 30 points. Washington led 77-73 entering the fourth quarter, but New York began it with a 10-0 run and ended it with a 9-2 run. 

Previous game: The Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics 107-96 on Sunday to fall to 29-48. The Knicks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 125-120 on Sunday to improve to 50-26. The Knicks have the NBA's longest active win streak at 12 in a row. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards -– PG John Wall, SG Garrett Temple, SF Martell Webster, PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor. Knicks –- PG Raymond Felton, SG Pablo Prigioni, SF Iman Shumpert, PF Anthony, C Tyson Chandler.

Pivotal matchup: Webster vs. Anthony. Coach Mike Woodson has gone with a smaller lineup with Anthony playing more in the post. He's too good of a ball-handler and scorer for Nene to step away from the rim to defend. The duty should fall to Webster, and SF Trevor Ariza will log time guarding him when he comes off the bench. 

Trending upward: A.J. Price (groin strain) produced 15 points in 24 minutes. It was his most points since Jan. 14. … Webster (abdominal strain) had three three-pointers that were his most since March 20.

Trending downward: Struggling through a sore right knee, Nene only posted seven points and five rebounds in the loss at Boston. …  Okafor is 6-for-19 shooting in his last two games. He has a mild strain in his left shoulder. … PF Trevor Booker has a bruised tailbone.

He said it: “It’s not really the road because we feel like when we play defensively from the start, we have a chance to win games. … For some reason on the road we don’t come out and play D right away. Against a team like this that’s playing for something they’re going to keep competing." –- Wall after losing to Boston, which shot 75% in the third quarter.  

Around the bend: Wednesday vs. Miami Heat, 7; Friday vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 7; Monday at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30. All games on CSN.