The New York Knicks survived a one-man show a few nights ago and will try to make it easier on themselves when they visit the Washington Wizards Friday night at the Verizon Center.
In Wednesday's 109-105 victory over the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry lit up Madison Square Garden for a career-high 54 points in a losing effort and sank 11 3-pointers. Curry almost made up for the loss of All-Star center David Lee, who was issued a one-game suspension for his involvement in a brawl with the Indiana Pacers.
The Knicks managed to hold on even though Golden State shot 50 percent for the game and made 15-of-27 3-pointers. Carmelo Anthony, who said double-teaming Curry in the second half helped somewhat, led the hosts with 35 points on 10- of-26 shooting and J.R. Smith netted 26 points off the bench.
Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler was a monster on the boards with a career-best 28 and added 16 points for New York, which has won two straight since a four-game slide and is 11-7 in the last 18 games.
"Guys played great down the stretch," Chandler said. "We just did an excellent job of defending."
Anthony's jumper late in the game produced the final margin and Knicks guard Raymond Felton posted a big block on the sizzling-hot Curry.
"Ray came up with a big play defensively, getting a block," Anthony said.
The Knicks registered 27 second-chance points compared to just two points for the Warriors. Kenyon Martin made his debut with the Knicks and played just under five minutes, posting no stats.
New York veteran Rasheed Wallace is scheduled to undergo surgery on his ailing left foot, which has a fracture to the fifth metatarsal. He is expected to miss about eight weeks of action.
After visiting the Wizards, the Knicks will return home to face the red-hot defending champion Miami Heat. Anthony was asked about avoiding a letdown in Washington before Sunday's pivotal East clash with Miami.
"We're not thinking about the Heat right now," Anthony said. "After we come back from Washington, maybe Saturday at practice you can ask me something about the Heat, but right now we're definitely not thinking about them because we got one game on our mind and that's the Wizards. This is kind of a payback game for us."
Anthony was referring to a 106-96 loss suffered in D.C. back on Feb 6. John Wall led six Washington players in double figures with 21 points to end a 10- game slide in the series, while Anthony had a game-high 31 points to go with nine rebounds. The Knicks and Wizards have split two meetings this season and will meet again April 9 at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks are 14-3 in the last 17 matchups with Washington and had won their last four trips to the nation's capital.
Despite its most recent loss, Washington has been playing solid basketball lately and looks to get back in the win column Friday.
The Wizards had won three in a row and seven of nine games until dropping a 96-95 decision to the Detroit Pistons Wednesday in the opener of a three-game homestand. Pistons guard Jose Calderon put his team ahead on a layup with 1:06 to go and Brandon Knight netted a career-high 32 points for the visitors.
Washington had a four-point lead at halftime (55-51), but Detroit used a 14-0 burst in the middle of the third quarter and closed out the period with a 31-13 difference. Washington, which opened the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run, was led by Trevor Ariza's 22 points off the bench. Rookie Brandon Beal and Emeka Okafor scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, in the loss.
"We got what we deserved. We didn't deserve to win that game," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said. "We were more caught up in ourselves individually than the team tonight."
Wittman's bench had a 49-19 advantage in bench points. The Wizards went 7-5 in February and averaged 94.9 ppg. Six of those wins came against teams that were .500 or better. Beal enjoyed a solid month, averaging 17.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. He had four games with 20-plus points.
Okafor is averaging 14.8 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last six games. Wall is posting just 12.8 ppg in his last four and was held to just six points against the Pistons.
"He is going through a rough stretch," Wittman said of Wall. "Whether it's a game, a stretch, two weeks, a week, 10 days, you gotta fight through it. You can't succumb to it, you can't feel sorry for yourself about it, and not only John, we feel sorry for ourselves sometimes instead of fighting through it."
The Wizards are 13-16 as the host and will wrap up the homestand Sunday versus the Philadelphia 76ers. In injury news for Washington, forward Nene is questionable Friday with a sore right shoulder.