New York Knicks vs Washington Wizards (London Game) NBA Pick – January 17th

Like the NFL, the NBA is trying to expand into London.

They’ve held nine games in the city since 2011, with the most recent being last year on January 11 when the Boston Celtics took a 114-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

After days of sightseeing, league events and team gatherings, today will mark the 10th NBA London Game — with the two teams being the New York Knicks (10-33) and Washington Wizards (18-26) partaking in the festivities. The game will be held at London’s O2 Arena, and will be nationally televised in the United States on NBA TV. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 PM ET. (8:00 PM in London)

For the Knicks, this is their third time playing in the NBA London Game since 2013.

A vacation couldn’t have come at a better time for New York. In their last 19 games, the Knicks have compiled a record of 2-17. But now that the vacationing part is over and they’re back to business today against the Wizards, reality will set back in quickly — especially without their top-rebounder Enes Kaner. He’s also third in scoring for the team.

Kanter has decided to stay in the United States due to concerns for his safety because of his ongoing feud with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey. According to a Turkish newspaper, prosecutors in the country are wanting an international arrest warrant out on Kanter, as well as an extradition. They claim he’s a member of a terrorist organization.

On Wednesday, Kanter tweeted in response to the situation:

He also had some fun with it, despite the serious circumstances:

Recently, Kanter told the New York Post: “I’m going to stay here and practice. It’s pretty sad. All this stuff affects my career in basketball. I want to help my team win, but because of one lunatic guy I can’t even go there to do my job. They got a lot of spies there. I can get killed pretty easy.”

Intense stuff. On a lighter note for the Knicks, they did get guard Frank Ntilikina back from an ankle sprain on Sunday — he’ll be able to provide depth for New York’s bench.

For the Washington Wizards, it’s been more of a party mode in London. Despite the overtime loss against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Washington has won five out of their last eight games — and this without their star John Wall and big-man Dwight Howard.

And on their winning streak, the Wizards have played high-powered playoff teams as well — they were able to take down the Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks on this stretch.

Wall may be out for the season and Howard currently has no timetable for his return, yet the Wizards find themselves just 2 1/2 games behind the No. 8 position in the Eastern Conference — the last spot to make it into the postseason.

“You’re talking two high-level starters — an All-Star starting point guard and Dwight has been one of our big signings this summer,” Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said to Sporting News. “It’s difficult, but our guys aren’t using it as an excuse. They’re coming out there and competing and hopefully, we can continue to do that and battle for a playoff spot.”

The Knicks’ biggest challenge will be to figure out how to stop the firepower of Bradley Beal. Beal has been magnificent the past three games averaging 36.0 PPG, while for the season overall he tallies a 24.8 PPG mark.

Thomas Bryant (9.0 PPG/5.3 RPG) will be starting in place of Dwight Howard today.

Now that we’ve gotten all that covered, enjoy your stay in London!

INJURY REPORT

NEW YORK KNICKS

  • TIM HARDAWAY JR.: Hamstring (Questionable — Day-to-Day)
  • ENES KANTER: Personal Safety (Out — Will Return To Knicks After NBA London Game)

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

  • DWIGHT HOWARD: Back Surgery (Out — No Timetable For Return)
  • JOHN WALL: Left Heel Surgery (Out For Rest Of Season)


PLAYERS TO WATCH

NEW YORK KNICKS

EMMANUEL MUDIAY
The 7-foot big-man from Switzerland has been an absolute force this season, and will be With it looking like Tim Hardaway Jr. will be forced to sit out again with a hamstring issue and Enes Kanter staying in New York City, that brings our focus to Emmaneul Mudiay (15.88 PER) as the top key to get a victory. Though not elite, Mudiay has been solid for the season. In the scoring department, he’s been putting up 14.5 PPG on 44.5 FG% shooting. He’s also been lighting up the scoreboard through the assist market as well, averaging 4.1 APG. And that’s not all: His 3.0 RPG mark also makes him effective on the glass.
KEVIN KNOX
The 19-year old rookie from Kentucky has been impressing his fan base halfway through the season, and now the people of London get their taste of Kevin Knox. Though not elite numbers, he’s been effective as a rookie. For the season, Knox has been putting up 12.7 PPG, however, the field goal percentage has been dismal at 38.3 FG%. Knox has also made his mark on the glass, pulling down a 4.2 RPG average. Kevin Knox enters today’s game with a 9.87 PER.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

BRADLEY BEAL
Going into the game against the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal will be the biggest hurdle in the way for the Knicks to steal a win in England. In John Wall’s absence, Beal has been an absolute monster. In scoring, he posted up a lethal 24.8 PPG number, and it’s been on great 47.3 FG% shooting. He’s also been a threat in both ball movement and for the boards as well — averaging 5/5 numbers. In assists, Beal posts 5.0 APG to help contribute more points on the board. In rebounding, it’s another 5.0 average for RPG. His PER is 19.79.
OTTO PORTER JR.
Leading the team in rebounds, Otto Porter Jr. will be another major piece for the New York Knicks to contain for a win — though he’s no where as lethal as Beal. In offensive production, he’s hit double-figures for the year averaging 12.6 PPG and on fantastic shooting as well: 48.2 FG%. Where the Knicks will have to contain Porter Jr. the most is on the glass — like previously mentioned, he leads the team with 5.6 RPG. He’s also been flashy on the defensive end thieving away 1.5 STLPG. Together, it compiles a 16.14 PER.

CHECK THE NUMBERS

NEW YORK KNICKS

We have a pretty balanced matchup on paper between the two teams, and the New York Knicks take two of the major categories. In offensive production, the Knicks are in the negative here — -6 at 107.3 PPG. The shooting has been horrendous, and that’s why they come in at -3 hitting 43.1 FG%. The first advantage for New York comes in the rebounding end. They have a solid +4 advantage at 44.7 RPG. Another key statistic, defense, also belongs to the Knicks at 115.8 PA — that’s +1.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

The Washington Wizards come in pretty even with the New York Knicks, taking two out of the four categories. They have a +6 advantage in points production putting up 113.5 PPG, and another positive comes in the shooting department as well — they’re +3 at 46.5 FG%. On the rebounding end, the Wizards come in -4 averaging 40.9 RPG. Luckily for the Wiz, Enes Kanter isn’t playing, but bad news is, neither is Dwight Howard. On the defensive end, it’s another disadvantage for Washington. They’re -1 at 116.8 PA.

POWELL’S PREDICTION

The Washington Wizards might be without John Wall and Dwight Howard, but at least they have contributors like Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. to keep them going. The New York Knicks, without Enes Kanter and most-likely Tim Hardaway Jr., have zero starpower to keep things moving.

As a result, we may have to issue a blowout alert in this one, but in the Knicks defense, the emotion of being in London might keep them in it. I say we meet somewhere in the middle. With Kanter and Howard out, the battle in the paint is up for grabs — and that’s what the game will come down to today.

If that’s the case, you’ve got to ride with Washington. Wizards’ backup Thomas Bryant (9.0 PPG/5.3 RPG) is far more effective than Knicks’ Luke Kornet (6.8 PPG/2.6 RPG), therefore the Wiz should be able to have the leverage on the boards. To go along with that, Bradley Beal’s scoring easily outdoes the whole New York team himself. The atmosphere in London gives us an entertaining game throughout, but the Wizards pull away late for the win — too much leverage in scoring and rebounding for Washington.

PREDICTION: New York Knicks 107, Washington Wizards 115

My Pick
WASHINGTON WIZARDS -7.5
Andrew Powell / Author

Andrew Powell has been working with The Sports Geek since November 2018 providing analysis and predictions in both the realms of sports and politics. Studying journalism through the University of Michigan, Powell's experience in sports includes tenures at mainstream newspapers The Williamsport Sun-Gazette and The Lock Haven Express, and he would also be affiliated with FOX Sports Radio 1340 AM in Hopewell, Virginia. In politics, it would include a stint with Mad World News and multiple with the Republican Party. From the Super Bowl to The Kentucky Derby to President Donald Trump's hair, Powell has you covered at The Sports Geek.