NBA Picks: Motivation The Key For A Knicks Home Win Over Wizards

Jason Lake

Monday, February 8, 2016 7:51 PM GMT

Derek Fisher has become the NBA's latest head coaching casualty. Will the New York Knicks respond Tuesday by beating the Washington Wizards and the NBA odds?

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Free NBA Pick: Knicks PK
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 8: 20-23-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total

Sunday was a heck of a day, wasn't it? We had the underdogs, of course, and they managed to hold on after taking an early lead. Final score: Orlando 96, Atlanta 94. Oh yeah, there was a football game, too. That turned out all right for us.

Anyway, back to more important things. Basketball is already the No. 1 betting sport here at the home office, and business will no doubt be picking up now that the gridiron is closed for the season. Let's start with Tuesday's intriguing Eastern clash (8:00 p.m. ET, MSG) between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. New York has opened as a pick' em on our NBA odds board with a total of 206. Anything been happening with the Knicks lately?

 

Go Fish
Oh, not much: They fired head coach Derek Fisher on Monday. Well now. This was a bit unexpected, but after the Knicks (23-31 SU, 29-25 ATS) punted their last five games in a row SU and ATS – against tough opposition, mind you – PBO Phil Jackson decided to drop the hammer. Fisher was apparently not doing a good enough job of getting his players to follow Jackson's preferred triangle offense. Kurt Rambis will take over from here on an interim basis.

In theory, this would be a good spot to follow the Knicks, expecting their players to come out with some added vigor on Tuesday. It didn't work out for us when we followed the Cleveland Cavaliers after they replaced David Blatt with Tyronn Lue. But it would have worked out for us had we stuck with the plan and taken the Phoenix Suns after they replaced Jeff Hornacek with Earl Watson.

 

Imaging Is Everything
The Knicks have a much larger short-term problem than their coaching situation. SF Carmelo Anthony (20.1 PER, +2.5 BPM) is having trouble with his left knee again, the same one that cut his season short last year. Anthony has reportedly had two MRIs on his knee over the past three weeks, and his shooting has fallen off considerably since the holidays, especially from the perimeter.

As for the Wizards (22-27 SU, 25-24 ATS), they're in a major rut themselves at 3-8 SU and 4-7 ATS in their past 11 games. Injuries haven't helped their cause, but both Nene (16.4 PER, –0.4 BPM) and Kris Humphries (12.2 PER, –4.0 BPM) could be back at power forward after practicing Monday. That's not going to be enough to sway us from adding New York to our NBA picks this time. FiveThirtyEight has an Elo-based projection of Knicks –1.5 for this game, and we think playing at home after Fisher's dismissal will put an extra spring in their step.