The Washington Wizards and New York Knicks are in for a rematch on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. This will be the second meeting between these two since a 131-113 win for the Knicks on Tuesday night. The usually quiet offense of the Knicks exploded and beat the Wizards at their own game. I think the Wizards were caught off guard in that one.
They likely didn’t think the Knicks were going to attack as much as they did offensively. However, that’s the best way to beat a weak Washington team that can only get by with their scoring prowess. Defense is optional for the Wizards, and didn’t have an easy time reeling in the Knicks’ offense on Tuesday evening. Julius Randle scored 37 points in 38 minutes to propel the Knicks on the scoreboard.
He shot 7 for 10 from three, and ran down 6 rebounds for a monster performance from the forward. Randle makes for terrific trade bait, though it’s unlikely that they give up the 26-year-old. He was rumored to be on the move for a minute, but for a Knicks team going in the right direction, letting Randle loose doesn’t seem logical.
The Knicks head into Thursday night with a record of 22-22 and tied for fifth in the East. They’re in a three-way tie with the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, while the Boston Celtics trail at 21-23 for the eight seed. Pat yourself on the back if you had the Celtics being down to the Knicks and in a tie with the Heat towards the end of March. I knew the Knicks were going to show improvement, but didn’t foresee the Celtics playing so sloppy.
The Wizards are an entertaining team to watch, but that’s where it ends. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games, with their only win against of all teams the Utah Jazz on March 18, 131-122. That was one of their best performances of the season. Although, their defense struggled again and failed to hold an opponent under 120 points. It’s clear what the Wizards have to do in the offseason. They go into the back-half of this series with a record of 15-27. Head below for our free Wizards vs. Knicks pick on March 25, 2021.
Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks NBA Betting Odds:
Wizards vs. Knicks Prediction:
It was an impressive display by the Knicks in their win over the Wizards on Tuesday. Head coach Tom Thibodeau knew that the Knicks couldn’t sit back and win with their defense. They had to force the issue from the opening tip-off and that’s what the Knicks did. It looked nothing like a typical Knicks game, as the offense came out for a big 131-point showing.
The Knicks are 28th in the NBA offensively with 105.3 points per game, but can still shoot the three ball at a 37.7% clip for top-10 in the league. They tend to go slow offensively, so that’s contributed to their 105.3 points per game. However, against the Wizards, going slow is not the best option.
The Wizards have gotten throttled for 120.2 points conceded per game this season. The Wizards rate as the 30th defense in the league with that figure. Opposing teams are shooting at a successful clip of 47.7% overall and 38.6% from beyond the arc against the Wizards.
Is there any positive to this defense? Not really. Even rebounding on the defensive side they’ve been struggling. Washington is 26th when it comes to defensive rebounding, so they’ve been giving teams plenty of second chance opportunities as well.
In their previous five outings, the Wizards have gotten punched in the mouth for 124 points allowed per game. Their shooters have been able to keep things interesting with 118.2 points scored per game, though the defense continues to be a black spot for the Wizards. The Wizards are eighth in the NBA with an average of 114.9 points scored per game overall.
It’s hard to be bad on offense with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal on the same roster. New York has the most underrated defense in the league, but the Wizards should be able to eclipse 110 points again tonight. With the Knicks forced to run a bit more than usual against the Wizards, expect a 117-113 final score to put this one OVER the total. Any time you can get a Wizards game with a total below 230, you have to consider going with the OVER.