Wizards open as 4.5 favorites over the Knicks in Washington D.C.
Even though neither team is making the playoffs, the Knicks look like they have some good momentum building, while the Wizards have been struggling to find consistency for almost the entire season. The Knickerbockers are 7-8 in their last 15 outings and have a 3-2 record over their last five games. On top of that, the Knicks have already managed to surpass their win total from last year, so there are a few reasons to feel good about the direction that New York is headed in. Meanwhile, the Wizards continue to have an up and down season as they are 23-40 and just 8-11 over their last 19 games. New York will look to continue developing a foundation to build on while the Wizards hope to bounce-back from a tough home loss to the Heat on Sunday.
This will be the final matchup of the year between these two squads. Right now, Washington leads the season series two games to one. The Wizards edged out the Knicks for a six point 121-115 victory when these teams first faced off in late December. In the second game of the series that took place just five days later, the Knickerbockers came out on top in our nation’s capitol by a final score of 107-100. The most recent meeting between the Wizards and the Knicks was a beat down though. Washington took the lead over New York late in the third quarter and didn’t trail the rest of the game on its way to a 114-96 victory earlier last month. Bradley Beal went 11/23 from the field and led all players in the game with 30 points. The final matchup of this season series is scheduled for tomorrow night at Capital One Arena, and I feel the narrative currently favors the Wizards.
The numbers cause me to believe that this will be a high scoring game. Both teams’ best players have been electric in these head-to-head match-ups. Bradley Beal has been on a tear since the all-star break. The former number three overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft has been putting up 36.2 points and 5.5 assists over his last ten games. Furthermore, Beal has been outstanding against the Knicks this season. In just two games against New York, Beal has averaged 30 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. On the other side, Julius Randle has had some of his best games of the year against the Wizards. The former Kentucky standout is averaging 28.7 points per game as well as 11.3 rebounds per game in three match-ups against the Wizards. Both of those guys will be lights out for their teams. However, this game will be decided by how the role players perform.
Washington’s role players do not have much experience going up against the 2019-2020 New York Knicks. Davis Bertans was held to just 16 points in his lone game against the Knicks, down from his season average of 18.1 PPG. Rui Hachimura was also underwhelming in the single game he played against the Knicks. The rookie Power Forward only managed to score 8 points in 23 minutes of gameplay. I feel like this Knicks team is pretty easy to figure out though, so I won’t be surprised to see the Wizards find success against New York now that they have film of their opponent to study and a better understanding of how to gameplan for this team.
I am sure RJ Barrett and Julius Randle will continue to carry the Knicks and make this game close. However, the other players the Knickerbockers have do not strike fear in me if I’m the Washington Wizards. Bobby Portis is one of the only other players on the Knicks roster that is averaging over ten points a game against the Wizards this season. Elfrid Payton is only averaging 9.3 PPG against the Wizards while Mitchell Robinson is scoring 8.7 PPG against Washington. Those numbers shouldn’t intimidate any professional basketball team, let alone the sixth best scoring team in the NBA this season. The Wizards should win this game and cover the 4.5 point spread.