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News » Wizards-Knicks Preview

Wizards-Knicks Preview

Wizards-Knicks Preview
While the New York Knicks feel they've put themselves in a good position for the future, their recent transactions may have made the current season an afterthought now.

After trading their top two scorers, the short-handed Knicks host the Washington Wizards on Saturday, looking to avoid a fourth straight loss.

New York (6-6) traded Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford before a 104-87 loss to Milwaukee on Friday. Randolph, who averaged 20.5 points and Crawford, who averaged 19.6, were moved in separate deals, with Crawford going to Golden State for forward Al Harrington while hours later, Randolph was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers along with reserve guard Mardy Collins for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas.

None of the new acquisitions played Friday and aren't expected to be available Saturday.

Harrington averaged 12.4 points in five games with the Warriors, but has been out since Nov. 5 because of back spasms. Mobley averaged 13.7 points and Thomas 9.5 with the Clippers. However, the more important result of the trade is that it frees up salary-cap space for the summer of 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could become available as free agents.

"I think that opening up cap space down the road for us is a big plus on our side and I hope our fans understand that that can give us an opportunity to make the team better according to the plan that I've outlined," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said on a conference call. "So I'm trying to be true to what I said from day one, and that's what I'm doing."

While Walsh seemed to recognize that the Knicks' respectable start, which comes after they went 23-59 in 2007-08, could now rapidly turn the other direction, coach Mike D'Antoni said nobody is giving up on this season.

"We're not throwing this year away or thinking that we're not going to make the playoffs or think that we're waiting for three years from now," he said. "No. We're going to go out and develop this team and we're going to really fight hard to get into the playoffs, and I think we can."

On Friday, the short-handed Knicks scored their fewest points in five games while losing their third in a row. They came in averaging 115.8 points but were held below 100 points for the fourth time this season.

"We kind of got down, felt a little sorry for ourselves, probably, and kind of gave in," D'Antoni said. "Our wills gave in a little bit."

Chris Duhon had 20 points while Nate Robinson added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Stephon Marbury dressed to give New York eight active players but he remained on the bench. D'Antoni said he told Marbury, who has yet to play this season, there would be minutes available if he wanted them, but Marbury declined.

While the Knicks struggled on Friday, they might have better luck against Washington (1-9), losers of four straight.

The Wizards are off to the franchise's worst start since the 1966 Baltimore Bullets opened 1-10. They fell 103-91 to Houston on Friday despite Antawn Jamison scoring a season-high 27 points and Andray Blatche adding a season-high 14 points.

"It is pretty much the same story for us," coach Eddie Jordan said. "We played very hard and played together with a lot of passion. It comes down to the team that makes shots. They made shots and plays, and we didn't."

Washington is averaging just 85.5 points during the losing streak.

The Knicks beat the Wizards 114-108 on Nov. 7. New York has won four of the last five meetings, and three of the last four at Madison Square Garden.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 22, 2008


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