The Washington Wizards haven't lost three straight games yet this season and look to avoid that fate on Christmas afternoon when they visit the terrible New York Knicks. Washington opened as a 5.5-point favorite on BetOnline NBA odds with a total of 192.
Rare Holiday Showcase for Wizards
I will admit I'm wrong when it happens, which thankfully isn't too often, and I was dead wrong on the Wizards at home against Chicago on Tuesday. I didn't see Washington losing a second straight home game, especially with the Bulls coming off a draining win over a very good Toronto team 24 hours prior. Yet Chicago got some payback for last season's playoff elimination against Washington with a 99-91 victory as a 3-point underdog on NBA odds.
Wizards point guard John Wall is having his best season but he was outplayed by Derrick Rose. Wall was 9-for-16 for 18 points but Rose was 10-for-17 for 25. It was the first time the two former John Calipari point guards had faced off since late January 2012 because Rose is always injured. Washington guard Bradley Beal scored 15 points and briefly left the game in the third quarter after receiving an elbow to the head from Chicago's Taj Gibson. Beal went through the concussion protocol and did return but didn't score again. The Wizards also were dominated on the boards, losing that battle 52-41. It's only the second time this season Washington has lost consecutive games.
This should be a big deal for Washington as it hasn't played on Christmas Day since 2008. Only a handful of guys on the team have ever played on the holiday. Washington is 11-16 against the spread this season and 13-13-1 'over/under' on NBA odds.
New York is a staple on Christmas Day because it's the biggest media market in the nation and the Knicks are a brand name and marquee franchise. New York has played more Christmas Day games than any other franchise and is 22-27 all time.
It's just that the Knicks have no right playing on a national showcase day because they might be the worst team in the NBA right now -- yes, worse than Philadelphia, which isn't even trying to win. New York lost 118-108 in Toronto on Sunday to drop to an embarrassing 5-25. It was the Knicks' fifth straight loss and 15th in the past 16 games. Carmelo Anthony is playing through knee problems and might shut it down at some point for a few weeks, but he had 28 points against the Raptors. Jose Calderon had 15 points and 10 assists. That's about it for the positives.
Knicks center Samuel Dalembert was tossed from that game from throwing what was deemed a flagrant elbow at the face of Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas. Dalembert got ejected for a Flagrant 2, but he has avoided a suspension. He was fined $15K. Meanwhile, the Knicks played Toronto without Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith. Stoudemire was simply resting in the second of a back-to-back and will play here. Smith is questionable. He has missed seven straight with a heel injury. The Knicks want him back and playing well so they can trade him.
This game could well be close at the end as the Knicks have played in a league-high 19 games that were separated by five points or fewer with five minutes to play. Alas, New York has won only three of them. The Knicks are 12-18 against the NBA betting spread this year and 15-14-1 'over/under.'
On Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden, Washington was a 1.5-point favorite at sportsbooks and won 98-83, the Wizards' fourth straight victory in the series. Washington was down five at halftime but outscored the Knicks 32-15 in the third thanks to a 14-0 run. Paul Pierce had 17 to lead the Wizards while Wall had just 11. Beal hadn't made his season debut yet off an injury. Anthony had 18 points but was 8-for-23 from the field. The only other Knick in double figures was Iman Shumpert with 19. He's out injured now. Calderon hadn't yet debuted for the Knicks then off his own injury. The Knicks have lost three straight at home in this series.
NBA Free Picks: Take the Wizards -5.5 and 'under' 192 points at BetOnline for your NBA picks. Washington has covered all four during its four-game winning streak vs. New York. The 'under' is 4-1 in the Wizards' past five after a loss. It is 8-1 in New York's last nine games at home.