New York Knicks Stat Monkey Brief: Knicks/Wizards (11/30/12)

Limiting turnovers during Jason Kidd's absence should be a major key to victory tonight, according to Knicks writer Patrick Haneman.

Which team’s performance from Wednesday fit this description?

1) Surrendered their fewest points over the last five games.
2) Got 19 points from a player off the bench.
3) Won the game.

The Knicks – they held Milwaukee to only 88 points, while Steve Novak came off the bench for a season-high 19 points in a win over the Bucks.

Surprisingly, though, the Washington Wizards achieved those same feats in their win over the Trail Blazers. They surrendered their fewest points of the season, while Jordan Crawford contributed 19 points off the bench.

To prevent the 1-12 Wizards from building momentum off of that first win of the season, the Knicks must limit turnovers, get bench contributions, and defend the three.

Limit Turnovers

The Knicks have had their two lowest assist-to-turnover ratios of the season in their last two games, both of which Jason Kidd missed due to lower back spasms. Kidd will again be out tonight, which is worrisome since the Wizards are ninth in the NBA in defensive turnover rate, generating about 14.7 turnovers per 100 plays.

Both Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigoni had seven assists to only four turnovers on Wednesday, and if they can continue dishing out assists while limiting turnovers, the Knicks can overcome Kidd’s absence tonight against the Wizards.

Bench Contributions

On Wednesday in Milwaukee, Steve Novak responded to my calls for better bench play, hitting 5-of-7 from downtown en route to his 19 points. Novak must continue providing this spark off the bench, as the Knicks are 11-0 dating back to last season when Novak scores 16+ points.

Defend the Three

Eleven of the Wizards’ 13 games have been decided by ten points or fewer. In their six losses in which they have shot 30% or better from beyond the arc, the Wizards’ average margin of defeat is only 4.5 points, with their worst loss being by seven. On Wednesday, Washington was 5-of-12 (41.7%) on 3-pointers in their 84-82 win over Portland.

On the season, the Knicks are third worst in the NBA in defending 3-point field goals, as opponents are shooting 38.6% from three-point land. The Knicks must make a concerted effort to contest outside shots tonight if they want to avoid a close game against the team with the worst record in the NBA.