We’ve got an Eastern Conference matchup on tap in the NBA Tuesday night as the Washington Wizards (15-26, 7-12 Away) are in the Big Apple to take on the New York Knicks (21-22, 12-8 Home). Tip-off from Madison Square Garden is set for 7:30pm EST. This is just the second meeting of the season between the teams, but the two will meet again on Thursday also from the Garden. The Knicks were victorious in the first contest on February 12, winning by 18 in D.C.led by Julius Randle’s 24 points and 18 rebounds.
Following that loss to the Knicks, Washington seemed to turn its season around, winning five in a row and seven of eight to get within five games of .500. However, they’ve since lost eight of 10 and are back to third from the bottom in the East.
Most recently, Russell Westbrook reunited with James Harden when the Wizards visited the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, and despite another triple-double from Westbrook, the Wiz fell by 7.
This has the potential to be Bradley Beal’s final game in a Wizards uniform as he continues to be one of, if not the most sought-after player as we approach Thursday’s trade deadline. Beal has played his entire nine-year career in the nation’s capital and leads the NBA in scoring this season. As noted, the Wizards tip it up with the Knicks again on Thursday night which will take place after the 3:00pm deadline.
The Knicks are coming off a controversial one-point overtime loss to the 76ers on Sunday, their second loss to Philly in a span of five days by a combined four points. New York has been on the wrong end of several questionable end-of-game calls by the referees lately and has voiced their displeasure loudly.
The loss dropped the Knicks back under .500, but if the season ended today, they’d still be in a position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and would face Brooklyn in the first round.
Julius Randle was once again at the center of the controversy, getting called for a push in the back going for a rebound which led to go-ahead free throws in OT by Tobias Harris. Randle then nearly made the game-winning shot as time expired, but it rimmed out as the horn sounded. The Kentucky product remains in a three-horse race with Jerami Grant and Christian Wood for the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award.
BETTING LINE AND PICK
The Knicks are favored by 2.5 on Tuesday night with an over/under of 225.5. Back in the first meeting, New York was a small favorite again, winning 109-91 as three-point chalk with the game going well UNDER the posted total of 219.
Both teams have nearly identical records against the number in this spot, as Washington is 11-8 ATS on the road and New York is 11-8-1 ATS in their home building. The Wizards are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, while the Knicks are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight-up loss.
You can bank on the loser of this one winning the rematch on Thursday unless Beal is traded before then, in which case a reevaluation would be in order. But for Tuesday, the Knicks are still steaming from Sunday, and they’ll take it out on the Wiz going away.
Pick: Knicks -2.5
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