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Knicks welcome back Kristaps Porzingis, Wizards: Odds, best bets, how to watch, more

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Kristaps Porzingis will face the Knicks
Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis (6) handles the ball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

On Wednesday, the New York Knicks will welcome back former star Kristaps Porzingis, who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks four years ago. While the center has played at the Garden since being dealt, he has revitalized his career in Washington and will come into Wednesday’s action playing some of his best basketball in recent years. 

However, New York beat Washington 112-108 on the road last week and will be looking to make it two straight against their Eastern Conference opponents. 

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Washington Wizards (18-26) @ New York Knicks (25-20)

Game Details

  • DATE: Wednesday, January 18th
  • TIME: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY

How to Watch:

  • CHANNEL: MSG Network, NBC Sports Washington

Betting Stats

  • SPREAD: NY -6.5
  • MONEYLINE: NY (-225), WASH (+180)
  • OVER/UNDER: 222

 

Porzingis Trade Legacy:

Before we get into a full game preview, I think it’s important to re-visit the Knicks’ trade now that we’re three years removed from the deal that saw New York acquire Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, and two first-round picks to the Knicks in exchange for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke.

On the surface, this remains a terrible deal for the Knicks. 

Porzingis, while battling injuries over his career, has remained a solid player. This season, he’s averaging 22.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 47.4% from the field and 34.4% from deep. His floor spacing and rim defense would be a huge asset for New York. 

Similarly, Hardaway Jr. has been a solid regular for Dallas over the four years, averaging 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and two assists per game. However, none of the players dealt to New York are currently on the roster or were ever really major components of a Knicks team. 

However, one of the picks dealt to New York was used in 2021 when the Knicks traded it to the Los Angeles Clippers in order to move up and select Quentin Grimes. Grimes has been a major asset for the team as its starting shooting guard this year, averaging 10.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, while playing elite defense and shooting 36.7% from beyond the arc.

The Knicks also have Dallas’ first-round pick in 2023, which would right now be the 19th pick in the draft. Considering the Mavericks already dealt Porzingis away, the verdict is still out on who comes out of this deal on top, and that first-round pick could play a big part in deciding that. 

 

GAME PREVIEW:

Washington comes into this game having lost two straight and five of their last six games. Their recent stretch of poor play coincides with losing All-Star guard Bradley Beal to a hamstring injury. Beal has been out for the last five games and is expected to need another week to recover, so he won’t be an issue for the Knicks on Wednesday. 

However, New York will need to find an answer for Kyle Kuzma, who went off for 40 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists when these two teams played last week. Perhaps New York will throw Quentin Grimes at him, as they did against Pascal Siakam after the Toronto forward crushed them for 52 points in the first meeting. 

Mitchell Robinson did a good job on Porzingis last week, holding the 7’3″ shooter to 21 points on 6-of-19 from the field to go along with just four rebounds. Meanwhile, Robinson pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked three shots, so him controlling the paint will go a long way toward ensuring a win for the home team. 

Defensively, Washington has improved this season as they allow teams to shoot 46.4% (7th) from the field and 36.3% (19th) from 3-point range. They also rank 15th in Defensive Ratings according to DunksandThrees.com. Offensively, they are shooting 48% from the field (9th), but just 34.4% from long range (22nd).

The Knicks allow just 111.3 points per game, which is 7th in the NBA, on 45% shooting, which is good for 2nd-best in the league, so they should be able to handle this Washington offense without Beal. 

Offensively, the Knicks will turn to Jalen Brunson again. The point guard led them in their last game against Washington, posting 34 points on 12-of-24 from the field to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds. Julius Randle also was a thorn in Washington’s side, posting a double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds. 

However, New York does struggle shooting the ball, posting just a 45.4% mark from the field and a 33.8% mark from three-point range, which both rank near the bottom of the league. If they can’t get shots to fall on Wednesday, they’ll allow the Wizards to hang around. 

 

Player Props

If you’re planning to bet on this game, two of our favorite player props are:

RJ Barrett OVER 24.5 points +assists

Since Barrett has come back from his finger injury, he is averaging 22.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, which puts him at 24.5 points + assists exactly. He also did score just 17 points and one assist in his last game. However, he is playing the most minutes of any player on the Knicks and accumulated his way to 32 points in the loss to Toronto.

I think the Wizards will focus heavily on Jalen Brunson given his recent performance, which will mean more opportunities for Barrett tonight. 

WHERE TO BET?: You can find this on BetMGM and DraftKings at -110

 

Kyle Kuzma UNDER 29.5 points + rebounds 

Much like I mentioned with Brunson, I think the Knicks will key in on Kuzma defensively after his 40-point performance against them the last time out. In January, Kuzma is averaging 21.3 points and 7.4 rebounds, so this total is actually above his average.

He also hasn’t scored above 23 points against any team other than the Knicks since a December 23rd game against the Kings. If the Knicks can hold him to 20-22 points, which is within his normal range, then I think the under will hit here, so I’ll bank on that. 

WHERE TO BET?: You can find this on FanDuel at -118

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James Harden scores over RJ Barrett of the Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) reacts after making a three-point basket against New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

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