Two East Conference rivals meet in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night – Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. These teams are close to one another in the standings, and are currently fighting for the playoff spot. Also, they are old rivals, and winning in this matchup carries a lot of weight. The hosts have problems with absent players, while the franchise from DC plays its fifths straight game on the road. Overall, the situation is complicated for either side, but that won’t be an alibi for a loss.
Washington Wizards (16-15, TBA) arrive at the Big Apple from West, where they had four stops on their tour. The first was in Denver, before visiting Sacramento, Phoenix, and Salt Lake. Their only win was against the Jazzers, 109-103, in a match that saw Bradley Beal exploding with 37 points.
The All-Star shooting guard scored his season-high shooting 13-for-24 and added seven assists. He kept the Wizards in the game and had the biggest role in this surprising outcome. Raul Neto came off the bench to add 15 points and seven boards, while KCP and Daniel Gafford had 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Washington had 27 assists and only nine turnovers, which was, in our humble opinion, one big reason for outpowering one of the top candidates for the title. Also, the Jazz did underestimate the Wizards, and this isn’t the first time this year that Quin Snyder’s players have such an approach when playing at home.
New York Knicks (14-17, TBA) are further and further from the playoffs. Though it is still early on to write off the Knicks, we need to say that they look pretty bad right now. On top of everything, COVID-19 hit them hard.
They play without RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Immanuel Quickley, and Quentin Grimes. Plus, Rose is out because of an ankle injury. So Tom Thibodeau has lots of things on his mind. The Knicks won against Detroit 105-91, which boosted their morale a little bit. Kemba Walker was in the middle of attention with the flashy point guard coming back and playing for 40 minutes.
He was left aside recently and apparently in the trade block, but after all the troubles the Knicks had, Thibodeau brought Walker back. Kemba responded with 21 points, eight boards, and five assists. Julius Radle had 21 points too, but with 11 boards, while Evan Fournier scored a team-high 22 buckets. Mitchell Robinson was furious off the bench with a strong double-double, 17 points, and 14 boards.
Head to Head
This is the first match this season between these two sides. In 2020/21 years, we’ve seen three direct contests, and the Knicks won all of them, one in DC and two at Madison.
The Knicks are in trouble, and that might be the chance for the Wizards. Yet, the team from DC plays its fifth game in a row away from home, and that is bound to have some impact. The Knicks will have the home-court advantage and the energy bar on their side, which is why we give them an edge over the Wizards.
Pick: Knicks win
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.