The Knicks play their first game under interim head coach Kurt Rambis vs. the Wizards on Feb. 9. (Credit: MSG Photos)

Crispy’s Pre-Game Notebook: Knicks at Wizards

NEW YORK KNICKS (5-6)

  • The Knicks have won two in a row and now have a victory over a playoff team from last year after beating the Pistons last night. The win was inspirational for a number of reasons. Kristaps Porzingis set a career high with 35 points and tied a career high in shots taken and made. more We are starting to see a vision of the future — someone who can score from multiple angles and in numbers ways.
  • The most impressive stuff from KP was his Dirk Nowitzki-like jumpers against heavy pressure that raised eyebrows, not his rim-rocking dunks. Dirk likes to kick out his leg to create space between him and defenders when he elevates and Porzingis imitated that last night. If he incorporates that into his game, he will take the next step towards stardom.
  • Tonight, Derrick Rose will see John Wall (if Wall plays). Rose warmed up last night by making several tough runners in the lane last night, especially in crunch time that saved the game for the Knicks. Rose, who has been in double figures in all but one game, is shooting 46 percent in the past four games.
  • Jeff Hornacek is finding out more about his team every night. Last night, it was contributions by Maurice Ndour and Kyle O’Quinn that stepped up — Ndour with a couple of key hoops and O’Quinn with three big blocks. New York had nine blocks that helped hold off Detroit.
  • Hornacek saved his highest praise for Justin Holiday, who continues to pitch in at the most opportune times. Holiday was on the floor for 23 minutes and had nine points and five rebounds in last night’s win. Besides showing he can guard top players, (last night it was Detroit’s hottest player Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), he has been helping with offense from distance, going 10-for-24 from three this season. Ironically, Holiday is shooting an identical .416 from two and three. The greatest praise a coach can give is this: “He is consistently in the right spot. You don’t have to tell him twice.” That’s Hornacek’s take on Holiday.

WIZARDS (2-8)

  • Both the Knicks and Wizards utilized Amtrak to get to DC after games last night, arriving about the same time in the Nation’s Capital at 2:15 a.m.
  • The Wizards loss in Philadelphia was particularly irritating to new coach Scott Brooks. “There was about a 12-minute period where we showed no resistance and it’s unacceptable,” said Brooks’ of his team’s effort.
  • John Wall, who scored 23 of his 27 points last night in the second half, had this to say after the game: “We have an opportunity to play the game we love for a living. So playing hard should be the easiest thing that we do.”
  • Wall underwent double knee surgery in the offseason and has not played the back-end of the Wizards’ two back-to-backs so far this season. He is expected to play tonight.
  • Wall has had huge games before against the Knicks. Last Feb. 9 he went for 28 points and 17 assists in a 111-108 Wizards win at The Garden.
  • Bradley Beal, who signed a massive max deal in offseason, is hurt again and has missed three straight games with hamstring tightness. He is questionable for tonight.

KP & Defense Power Knicks Past Pistons

KNICKS 105, PISTONS 102 Unicorns and rainbows. Kristaps Porzingis has steadily emerged as a primary scorer for the Knicks as Jeff Hornacek has made it a priority to find the 7-foot-3 rare breed and exploit mismatches. Porzingis had 25 of his career-high 35 points in the first half and even had Carmelo Anthony marveling at […]