The Other Side: New York Knicks
Not much has changed since the Knicks torched the Washington Wizards for 128 points on Wednesday, but the team plane, which wasn't provided by US Airways, was fortunate to avoid a flock of geese on the flight to Washington last night. So, there will be another game tonight at Verizon Center.
Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott complained about his team getting caught up in a shootout in the 128-122 loss two days ago, but his biggest gripe was that the Knicks had 19 offensive rebounds. The most impressive part of that stat? Not only did they have more offensive rebounds than the Wizards had defensive rebounds (17), but the Knicks missed 37 shots. That means they rebounded more than half of their misses. How often does that happen?
The Knicks have won four in a row against the Wizards, and have an opportunity to sweep the season series. Here's what else you should know about the Knicks heading into the rematch tonight:
1. The Knicks Are Winning Because of ... Defense?!?
The Knicks gave up 122 points to the Wizards, but they actually moved up the defensive standings to 27th in the league -- but only because Sacramento allowed Golden State to score 135 on Wednesday. But in five of their previous seven games, the Knicks held their opponents below 100 points. And the New York Post's Peter Vecsey said the reason the Knicks were able to pull off their previous two wins against New Orleans and Boston was because of Mike D'Antoni's decision to use 6-foot-11 former Wizard Jared Jeffries on point guards Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. D'Antoni didn't try that strategy on Mike James. What gives?
2. Hard Times Are Ahead for the Knicks
The Knicks are looking for their second three-game winning streak of the season tonight -- no surprise, the first one also included a win against Washington. After that the Knicks hope to pad their record with five of their next six games against teams with losing records. They get Philadelphia (twice), Chicago and Memphis with Phoenix mixed in. But starting on Jan. 26, the Knicks will have a tough pre-All Star Game stretch with games against Houston, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland, Boston and Portland. The Knicks are 9-10 against teams with losing records this season, and 5-12 against teams with winning records.
3. Stephon Marbury Buyout Talks Continue Today
Stephon Marbury? Remember him? He still lurks in the shadows of this season and will continue to do so until Knicks President Donnie Walsh can find a way to get rid of him. Marbury initially offered a $1 million giveback on his $20.8 million salary, but pulled it after a contentious face-to-face meeting with the Knicks. Walsh is expected to meet with NBA players' union representative Hal Biagus, but there is no resolution in sight. Nothing will likely occur until after the Feb. 19 trade deadline because Walsh reportedly thinks he can still trade Marbury's expiring contract.
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