The Knicks (17-37) settle back in at home after an extremely long back-to-back set. They nearly pulled it off to bump their mini win streak up to five, but two overtimes later... back to square one. Sloshing into the muddy paths of the Garden tonight are the Washington Wizards (19-33). The Wizards have proven to be a handful, even when they can barely field a starting lineup.
The Knicks have oddly benefitted from moving Marcus Morris. It’s allowed Mike Miller to experiment with more two-guard lineups and more two-shooter lineups. They closed against Atlanta with Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock together — granted, they lost in the closing moments. Nevertheless, the change of pace has given Julius Randle his healthy dose of touches without entirely chopping off different teammates. Two isolationists was too much. Now the ball zips around and the opportunities have equaled out a little better.
Meanwhile, for the Clippers, Morris hasn’t figured out his role yet and has gummed up the gears a little bit for a team that needs him to keep the ball rolling if he doesn’t immediately have a shot. Philly put them in their place for this miscalculation down the stretch of their game last night.
The Wizards will be without Thomas Bryant and classic Knick-killer Anzejs Pasecniks remains questionable with a hip blip.
New York might finally get to introduce Mo Harkless to his old stomping ground. As it stands he is considered probable along with Mitchell Robinson, Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier, who have all been feeling sicky poo!
Keys & Predictions
With Rui Hachimura back in the fold the past few games, Washington has enjoyed a nice little burst of scoring and playmaking from the forward slot. Hachimura has rewarded them by punching in double digits each time, including 20 last night against the Bulls. Which like, the Bulls... Let’s say they might not have it all figured out yet.
Incredible possession from the Bulls. pic.twitter.com/48TwvzfIWp— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) February 12, 2020
Just the same, the high-powered Wizards have a nice new dynamic to use as an asset for their brand identity. Of course Bradley Beal is their logo and he has one of the cleanest, most efficient strokes in the game. The Knicks will have to pick between letting Beal go off and stifling everything else, or just hacking away at everything to see if they can’t cut ’em down to size.
This is a rubber match between the two teams, and they’ll close their season series with one last meeting in March. The first game felt like the Wizards put a spell on the Knicks to sneak away with the win. In the second game, the Knicks reversed the spell. Who knows what will happen this time, but both teams are playing .500 ball in their last ten games.
One question: who left Davis Bertans open all game?
Knicks by -50.
Warm Up Music
I’d love to see the Knicks push for another little win streak. Press enough of them together and you might actually come out feeling like you’ve had a successful season. A good year is something the Knicks haven’t had in quite some time. I remember the days when that was the inverse. Whatever happens, please bring Killian Hayes to New York.