Knicks Back At MSG After Asbestos Scare
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NEW YORK (AP) — Madison Square Garden will reopen in time to give the New York Knicks another chance to continue their success against the Washington Wizards.
After falling debris in the 42-year-old building forced the postponement of their last home game, the Knicks return to MSG looking for a sixth straight home win over the Wizards on Friday night.
New York’s contest with Orlando on Tuesday was postponed because of safety concerns after debris fell into the arena during overnight cleaning of asbestos-related materials. City environment officials who later inspected the famed sports and concert hall gave the go-ahead for the venue to reopen.
“If they made any mistakes, they were mistakes in the direction of being cautious and they should be commended for that,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “There was no asbestos there. There were no risks.”
The Knicks (2-2) have averaged 115.2 points and shot 51.2 percent during their five-game home winning streak against the Wizards. The Knicks have won 12 of the last 14 meetings with Washington at MSG.
New York, which lost 100-95 to Portland in Saturday’s home opener, has also won seven of nine overall versus Washington, including three in a row.
Forward Amar’e Stoudemire has not been part of that dominance, but averaged 24.0 points and 12.4 rebounds in his last five games against the Wizards while with Phoenix.
The Knicks got by with 14 points and eight boards from Stoudemire in a 120-112 win at Chicago on Thursday.
Toney Douglas scored a career-high 30 points off the bench, Danilo Gallinari added 24 and Raymond Felton had 20 with 10 assists as New York went 16 of 24 from 3-point range. The Knicks had shot 29.1 percent from beyond the arc in their first three games.
“Once you start to see the ball going in from different people it makes it a lot easier for everyone else,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Douglas, who came three points shy of his total from the season’s first three games, is 23 of 42 from the field in 2010-11 – a remarkable clip for a 6-foot-2 guard.
“I make sure that every time I shoot it that I have confidence that it’s going in,” he said.
Washington (1-2) also enters this matchup with momentum following a 116-115 overtime victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Rookie John Wall had 29 points, 13 assists and tied a franchise record with nine steals in his home debut. The No. 1 overall pick has scored 57 points and dished out 22 assists in his the last two games.
“He’s got an unbelievable will to win,” Washington coach Flip Saunders said.
It’s uncertain if Wall finally will get the chance to play alongside fellow guard Gilbert Arenas in a regular-season game Friday.
Arenas has yet to play this season due to a strained tendon in his right ankle, but practiced this week and is a game-time decision. He still hasn’t appeared in a game since Jan. 5, the day before he was suspended for the remainder of last season for bringing guns into the locker room.
“He looked good,” Saunders told the Wizards’ official website. “So, we’ll wait.”
Washington, 11-30 away from home in 2009-10, looks to avoid losing its first three road games for the fourth time in five seasons.
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