New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards Pick & Prediction JANUARY 18th 2024

The Knicks will look to complete a three-game sweep of their season series against the Washington Wizards when the teams meet in New York on Thursday.

Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle paved the way for the Knicks in the first two meetings, both at Washington. Brunson scored 32 points and Randle added 22 in New York’s 120-99 victory on Nov. 17 before the latter had 39 and the former had 33 in the Knicks’ 121-105 win on Jan. 6.

The stars also turned in strong performances on Wednesday to send New York to its seventh win in the past nine games overall. Randle collected 31 points and eight rebounds and Brunson added 30 points and seven assists in his return from a bruised left calf to fuel the Knicks to a 109-94 victory over the visiting Houston Rockets.

The nine-game stretch coincides with OG Anunoby’s time with New York since he was acquired from Toronto. Anunoby recorded 15 points and four steals on Wednesday for the Knicks, who are in the midst of playing 12 of 14 games at home. They split the first two contests headed into their tilt with Washington.

Anunoby’s former team, the Raptors, is on tap for Saturday.

“When you make a trade in-season, and it’s a trade that has impacted both the starters and the bench,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “As we go along, we have to continue to try to emphasize improvement and how important winning is, so it’s a little choppy. And then when you factor in injuries that occur, Jalen being out, that threw another little wrench into it. This league is full of challenges, and it’s how quickly can we adapt. So we have to keep moving forward.”

Wizards star Kyle Kuzma scored team-high totals of 19 and 27 points in the encounters vs. New York. He had 21 points and eight rebounds before being ejected after receiving two technical fouls late in the fourth quarter of Washington’s 129-117 setback to the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers didn’t play for the Wizards on Monday, one day after being acquired from Detroit in a trade that sent Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari to the Pistons. Bagley and Livers, however, participated in practice on Wednesday, and coach Wes Unseld Jr. worked to make it a familiar session for his newest charges.

“I’m using (Detroit’s) playbook, things that they run that are similar to us, so I’m able to kind of yell out when we call something,” Unseld said, per The Washington Post. “And I’m like, ‘Hey, that’s their whatever.’ That helps facilitate that memory or even that recognition.”

Whether Bagley will crack the starting lineup was not public knowledge, but the Wizards will be without Daniel Gafford (concussion protocol) after he hit his head during the loss to the Pistons.

“All you ever want as a player is an opportunity to just go play,” Bagley said, per the Post. “My whole life I’ve worked hard, so being in a position where finally … if the opportunity is there, just go out there and make the most of it. That’s my mindset. Do the best that I can do, play as hard as I can possibly play, and I can live with that result.

“I’m excited, man. It’s another new start for me.”

The Wizards have lost seven of their past eight overall and are 4-18 on the road this season.

–Field Level Media

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