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Knicks can't let John Wall beat them like he did last time

Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots in front

Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots in front Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire (1). (Feb. 6, 2013) Credit: AP

The Knicks felt good about holding Stephen Curry to 54 points Wednesday night because they won the game. Containing John Wall is a different test, one the Knicks failed miserably three weeks ago.

Friday night is the rematch in D.C., and it seems that's how the Knicks are viewing it after Wall went anywhere he wanted in a 106-96 victory Feb. 6.

Wall wasn't as dominant as Curry and doesn't shoot the ball nearly as well. But the Knicks couldn't stop Wall -- arguably the fastest player with the ball in the NBA -- in pick-and-roll, in transition and basically any time he had the ball.

The Knicks have been known to overlook inferior teams, which happened the last time they faced Washington. They play the Heat on Sunday, but after what Wall did three weeks ago, it would be surprising if the Knicks aren't ready to play.

"We've got one game on our mind and that's the Wizards," Carmelo Anthony said. "That's kind of a payback game for us. We felt like last time we went down there, we were supposed to win that game, so that's kind of a payback game."

The Wizards are 20 games under .500, but they are 13-10 with Wall and have won seven of their last 10.

Wall's play has slipped some since his 21-point, nine-assist game against the Knicks. He had seven turnovers Wednesday against the Pistons. It's the third time in five games he had at least six turnovers. Wall also turned the ball over six times against the Knicks, but he still led Washington to the win.

"I don't think John Wall killed us like that last game," Raymond Felton said. "I thought we did a pretty good job on him. We just didn't finish the game like we were supposed to."

Not every Knick agreed with Felton. After the game, Tyson Chandler said the Knicks made no adjustments to stop Wall or contain him in the pick-and-roll.

Wall hurt the Knicks in so many ways, including driving and kicking it to open shooters. Former Knick Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster each knocked down five three-pointers, many of them set up by Wall's ability to get in the lane.

Point guards and backcourt players in general have feasted on the Knicks' shoddy pick-and-roll and perimeter defense all season. The list includes Jrue Holiday, Chris Paul, Jeff Teague, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson and now Curry, who had the third-highest-scoring game at the current Garden.

Curry shot 18-for-28 overall, including 11-for-13 from three-point range. In the final three quarters, he scored 50 points and shot 16-for-22. But after being victimized most of the night, Felton stuffed Curry's potential go-ahead jumper with 1:28 left in the Knicks' 109-105 win.

"It may not seem like we played good defense because the man came in and had 54," Felton said. "I think overall we still played good defense as a team. We got stops when we really needed them. Earlier, we weren't really doing that down the stretch and teams were getting wins on us. Now we're still able to pull a win out when a guy's as hot as he was."

One of those "earlier" games was against Wall and Washington. You'd expect the Knicks to be better prepared this time.

Wallace's surgery. Rasheed Wallace had surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot. The recovery time is about eight weeks.


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