The New York Knicks are looking to sweep their season series with the Washington Wizards. Let’s if the high-scoring duo of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook can do something about it.
Catch this game tomorrow, Friday, at 8 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: New York Knicks (22-22, 13-8 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- C – Nerlens Noel
- PF – Julius Randle
- SF – RJ Barrett
- SG – Reggie Bullock
- PG – Elfrid Payton
As evident in their record, the Knicks are pretty even this season. “Even” is great, of course, since the franchise has been atrocious for much of the 21st century.
The Knicks are marching to tomorrow’s contest with great confidence. They are 2-0 against the Washington Wizards this season, and they won both games by 18 points. The most recent was just this past Wednesday, where they cruised to a 131-113 rout, thanks in good part to going 16-for-30 from beyond the arc.
The barrage of threes were led by All-Star Julius Randle. He torched the hapless Wizards defense by swishing seven trifectas and totaling 37 points, his second-highest output on the season. He has been putting up 30.5 points and 12 rebounds per game in the season series.
Sophomore guard RJ Barrett, meanwhile, who’s steadily progressing as a two-way swingman, had an all-around game of 21 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. He’s averaging 21.1 PPG on 52.1% shooting over his last 11 games.
Big man Mitchell Robinson and point guard Elfrid Payton will be in their second game back from injury. Both appear to be in good form, especially Robinson, who played 30 minutes on Wednesday and went for a double-double of 16 points and 12 boards to go along three blocks.
The Knicks are scoring 108.4 PPG in their last eight games.
ROAD TEAM: Washington Wizards (15-27, 7-13 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- C – Alex Len
- PF – Rui Hachimura
- SF – Garrison Matthews
- SG – Bradley Beal
- PG – Russell Westbrook
The Wizards continued the rough trend on yet another lottery-bound season. Following Wednesday’s one-sided affair, they have dropped nine of their last 11 games. Their terrible defense is present, as always, as they are giving up 122.9 PPG in that stretch.
The “best defense is great offense” approach is good if you are truly great on offense, kind of like the Brooklyn Nets – obviously, as great Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook are, the Wizards are a far-cry from the loaded Nets.
Beal (31.6 PPG to 22 PPG) and Westbrook (21.7 PPG to 18.5 PPG) are also both scoring below their season averages when against the Knicks this season. It’s not looking good, but since they’re All-Stars, we have to assume they have something better in-store tomorrow.
Second-year forward Rui Hachimura will be backing up the backcourt duo. He’s chipping in 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds on 54.1% shooting over his last six games.
The Wizards are seventh in the league inscoring at 114.9 PPG, but dead-last in points allowed at 120.2 PAPG.
The Knicks are a good pick here. They’ve trashed the Wizards twice by 18 points. Randle and company will play loose and confident, and should be able to cover that -4.5 line.
The Wizards will try to push the pace and score, just like they always do, but the Knicks have their number. It’s also their second matchup in 48 hours – defenses will be familiar so I’m assuming a lower-scored game than the most recent one. Go with under 226.