By Dave Johnson
It’s obvious. The Washington Wizards are better with John Wall. Still, in five of the last nine games, Wall has had at least six turnovers. It’s a trend Wall wants to change starting with tonight’s home game against the New York Knicks.
Coverage of the Wizards and Knicks begins at 6:45 on the Washington Wizards Radio Network.
While Wall needs to clean up his turnovers, head coach Randy Wittman also wants his starting point guard to consider the big picture.
Wittman on Wall:
The Wizards continue to get solid contributions from their bench. In short, players are staying ready. Kevin Seraphin had been out of the rotation, but then responded with 12 points off the bench against the Pistons.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
After losing four straight games, the Knicks come to town after home wins against Philadelphia and Golden State. Against the Warriors the Knicks prevailed despite 54 points from Stephen Curry.
J.R. Smith has been a solid sixth man this season, averaging 16.1 PPG and shooting 35 percent from three. Smith is a streak shooter and has been on a tear of late (last 5 games: 18 PPG, 46 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point distance).
Jason Kidd is going through arguably the worst shooting slump of his career. Over the past 12 games Kidd has shot 20 percent from the field and 15.9 percent from distance.
In games where Steve Novak has played and scored no points, the Knicks are 4-5. In games where he hits double figures, they are 11-2.
The last time:
It was a magical night at Verizon Center. With Magic Johnson watching courtside, the Washington Wizards created their own magic in the form of a 106-96 defeat of the New York Knicks. It was the Wizards' fifth win over a division leader this season and ended the Knicks' five-game winning streak.
Shooting 53 percent from the field the Wizards had the finesse to go with their fight. The Wizards placed six players in double figures led by John Wall with 21 points and 9 assists. Then on defense the Wizards made Carmelo Anthony work for his game-high 31 points and held the Knicks to 40 percent shooting from the field.
The Wizards started the fourth quarter down by three points at 73-70, but never trailed again after Trevor Ariza converted a four-point play. Ariza was fouled as he made a 24-footer from the right wing and then made the free throw. Ariza scored a season-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc. This is the fourth time in the past five games Ariza has scored in double-figures and the second straight game he has made at least three 3-pointers.
The Wizards were 11 of 20 beyond the arc and fittingly the knockout blow was delivered by a three-point shot. Martell Webster converted his fifth three-pointer of night with a 1:31 remaining in the game to give the Wizards a 104-95 lead.
Webster finished with 19 points tonight on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-9 from behind the arc. He has now scored in double figures in five of his last six games. Webster is shooting 42 percent from the behind the arc this season, which ranks eighth in the NBA. This is the second straight game he has made five three-pointers.
With the win, the Wizards also stopped a 10-game losing streak against the Knicks. It was the Wizards' first win over the Knicks since a home victory in January of 2010. To go with the Wizards' impressive offensive effort, the win was secured through defense with the Knicks only shooting 37 percent from the field in the second half.
Knicks’ Head Coach Mike Woodson:
“Any team can beat you in this league if you are not physically or mentally ready. We are playing for something and that by no means is to take anything away from the Washington Wizards. They started off slow because of health issues. Now that the Wizards are healthy this is a different ball club, and they are showing it night in and night out. We knew this coming in, but after losing this game it’s safe to say that we didn’t respond to it.”