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Game Preview: New York Knicks at Washington Wizards, January 6, 2024

In the second of a back-to-back, Knicks seek to conquer the Wizards again

In-Season Tournament - New York Knicks v Washington Wizards Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Back in November, the New York Knicks (20-15) won their first matchup of the season against the Washington Wizards, 120-99. The victory eliminated the Wiz (6-28) from NBA Cup contention. Jalen Brunson posted an impressive 32-point performance, and Immanuel Quickley added 27 points. Despite Washington narrowing the margin to five points in the second half, the Knicks outscored them 31-15 in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.

Now the clubs meet again, with a slightly different cast of characters for New York and a whole lot of losing having transpired at the Capital One Arena.

Both teams are playing the second game of a back-to-back. Last night, the Cavs beat the Wiz in D.C., 114-90, while New York annihilated the 76ers in Philadelphia. (Lordy, it was sweet.)

Since the trade last weekend that flipped RJ Barrett and Quickley for OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn, the Knicks’ defense is storming and swarming, and their offense is easy breezy. The inimitable Anunoby has revitalized the Bockers, with Josh Hart and Julius Randle showing renewed verve and Jalen Brunson finding it easier to rack up assists when there isn’t maple syrup in the gears. As underdogs last night, they steamrolled Philly through most of the contest, thanks to sharpshooting from all their guards (starting and bench) and another show-me-the-money performance by Isaiah Hartenstein.

Things are less optimistic for Washington, but despite what the record says, they aren’t without talent. Per game, Kyle Kuzma scores 22.5 points. Daniel Gafford pitches in 7.6 rebounds, and Tyus Jones dishes 5.4 dimes. This trade season, Kuzma has been mentioned in rumors and might not bear his Wizard wand much longer as the front office seeks to clean up their mess.

Deni Avdija and Jordan Poole round out the first five. Poole is averaging 16.9 points and 3.7 assists this season. He scored two points in 22 minutes last night, which seems hard to do without making a concentrated effort. His salary this year? $27.4 million USD. Zoiks!

The player I’ll watch is rookie shooting guard Bilal Coulibaly, who comes off the bench and has averaged only 8.6 points and 4.2 rebounds this season, but plays significant minutes (36 last night) and is rumored to have promising talent. (He didn’t do squat in his one game against New York, though.)

Prediction

After a slow start, the Knicks will put some distance between them and the Wizards before halftime, and then pour it on through the third quarter. Washington will make it a more respectable score in the fourth, and New York will win by +15. Go Knicks!

Game Details

Who: New York Knicks at Washington Wizards
When: 7:00 pm EST, Saturday, January 6, 2024
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
Watch: MSG
Follow: @ptknicksblog