The Knicks have yet to lose back-to-back games in 2023. They’ll look to continue that trend as they gear up for a rematch with the Wizards tonight.
The Knicks (25-20) are coming off of a tough two-point overtime loss to Toronto but will try to bounce back against a team they beat last Friday night on the road.
The Wizards (18-26) are in the middle of a cold stretch. They seemed to be building positive momentum around the holidays, breaking a 10-game losing streak by winning six of their next seven games through the Dec. 20-Jan. 1 stretch. They haven’t been able to emulate that same success since then though, entering Wednesday as losers of five of their last six games, a slump that coincides with Bradley Beal’s recent untimely hamstring injury.
New York has won three straight meetings with the Wizards dating back to last year, and six of the last seven since the start of the 2020-21 season. The Knicks will try to extend that winning streak when things tip off on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Time has seemed to heal all wounds since Kristaps Porzingis’ departure from the Knicks after getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019. New York has moved on and fans are relishing in the signing of Jalen Brunson, the recent rejuvenation of Julius Randle, and the development of some of the younger pieces.
Porzingis has moved on, too, playing some of his best ball in his first full season with the Wizards. However, the results whenever he faces his former team have remained largely the same. While Porzingis has had some injuries bogging him down over the years, he can’t seem to quite beat the Knicks when he’s on the court. Since leaving New York in 2019, his teams are a combined 1-5 when he’s in action against the Knickerbockers.
He had 21 points and shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, but was an inefficient 6-of-19 overall in last Friday’s showdown with New York.
The Wizards were buoyed by Kyle Kuzma instead, who dropped a season-high 40 points against the Knicks and kept Washington in the game. Expect the Knicks to key in on him and prevent another high-scoring night like that again.
After that, the Wizards will try to get any help they can on the scoring end. Corey Kispert is an up-and-down perimeter-scoring threat. Delon Wright didn’t contribute much on the scoreboard last time out but provided a presence on the glass and plenty of energy off the bench.
Having Monte Morris back will certainly help too, as Jordan Goodwin struggled with running the point in Morris’ absence and logged a +/- rating of -20 against the Knicks. Morris is coming off of a 17-point, 10-assist performance with only one turnover against the Golden State Warriors.
No slow starts, and finish strong
The last meeting with the Wizards was a bit closer than it needed to be. Some of that was due to Kuzma’s ability to single-handedly keep the Wizards afloat, but it also didn’t help that RJ Barrett, Jalen Brunson, and Julius Randle were a combined 7-of-20 to start the game.
Thankfully, Immanuel Quickley lit a spark before Brunson eventually heated up with another big-game performance to help lead the Knicks to victory.
Things got a little dicey at the end, but the Knicks made the necessary free throws to ice the game. They played much better in the second half overall, but no need to let the Wizards, who were missing some key players, in the game.
Barrett is coming off his best game statistically since making his return, so look for him, Randle, and Brunson to help lead the way to victory.
For the Wizards, Bradley Beal (hamstring) is questionable for Wednesday.