A win Saturday night would give the Washington Wizards their first 3-0 start in a decade. It would also be a franchise-record eighth straight victory over the New York Knicks.
Washington swept a two-game road trip by beating Orlando 88-87 on Wednesday and rallying past Milwaukee 118-113 on Friday. John Wall capped a 22-point night against the Magic with a go-ahead floater with 12.7 seconds remaining before the Wizards outscored the Bucks 36-21 in the fourth quarter.
Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 26 points and reserve Ramon Sessions had 11 of his 23 in the fourth Friday for Washington, which went 7 of 9 from 3-point range in the final 12 minutes.
”(Beal’s) taken my role for another night,” said Wall, who had 19 points and 10 assists. ”He stepped up. I made one 3 (in the fourth quarter), but he made some big shots for us.”
Washington shot 51.5 percent after posting a 39.3 mark in Orlando.
”This is the first two games we’ve run this offense in the regular season,” Wall said. ”In the preseason it’s totally different.”
The Wizards now take on New York (1-1) in their first game at home, where they went 29-12 last season to post the third-most wins in the Eastern Conference.
Two of those victories came against the Knicks, part of a seven-game run in the series that matches Washington’s longest from March 30, 1984-March 20, 1985.
New York has been held to 90.1 points and 41.5 percent shooting during the current slide, while Washington has received balanced scoring from Beal (19.0), Wall (18.4) and Marcin Gortat (12.1).
Carmelo Anthony appeared in five of those seven meetings for the Knicks and averaged 23.4 points on 45.2 percent shooting. He’s struggled with his shot so far, going 14 for 43 (32.6 percent) and making 1 of 12 from 3-point range.
Anthony scored 25 on Thursday but shot 10 of 27 in a 112-101 home loss to Atlanta. He had 11 points in a 122-97 win the night before in Milwaukee, which marked his first game since a knee injury ended his 2014-15 season in February.
"I kind of prepared myself (for being rusty), but on the flip side of that I want to get it going," Anthony said. "I don’t want to try to push it too much. I want to let it come to me naturally and not try to force it out there as far as trying to force my rhythm.
" … It’ll come back. Everything will start clicking for me."
Robin Lopez has been an early bright spot for the new-look Knicks after coming over from Portland in July on a four-year, $54 million contract. He’s averaged 13.0 points and made 11 of 16 from the field.
Fellow starter Kristaps Porzingis, the No. 4 overall pick in June’s draft, is also scoring 13.0 per game but shooting 33.3 percent.
"(The chemistry) will get there," Anthony said. "We have it some moments and some moments we don’t. But it’s there and is something that will come around to us."