If I told you at the start of the season that the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards would be the hottest teams in the NBA at the end of April, with the Knicks on a nine-game winning streak and on the verge of 10 straight wins in a row, you’d probably think that I was smoking too much high-potentcy California kush.
Alas, this isn’t a pipe dream; this is real life. The Knicks (34-27) currently occupy the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, while the Washington Wizards (27-33) are on an eight-game winning streak. The Wiz moved into contention to secure a spot in the play-in tournament with the #10 seed.
How good are the Knicks this season? Only eight teams have a better record than the Knicks, which is shocking if you’re used to watching the inept Knicks over the past few seasons. What a difference a year makes, eh?
The Knicks emerged as the top betting team in the league with the best against the spread record in the NBA. The Knicks are 39-21-1 ATS this season, including a 12-0 ATS clip in their last dozen games.
The Wizards are covering too with a 10-2 ATS record in their last dozen games.
Knicks Now on a 12-0 ATS Clip
The Phoenix Suns are in Gotham to finish off back-to-back games against the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. Last night, the Suns lost 128-119 against the dinged-up Nets. Tonight, they head across the river to take on the sizzling-hot Knicks.
The Knicks will put their nine-game winning streak on the line against the second-best team in the Western Conference. Suns head coach Monty Williams is one of the co-favorites to win Coach of the Year due to their auspicious season.
The Knicks are the best defensive team in the NBA, allowing 104.7 ppg. They’re also the top team in the league at defending the 3-point shot, holding teams to 33.7% from downtown. The Knicks lack a high-octane offense, but then they don’t need one. They get just enough offense every night thanks to sharp 3-point shooting of their own, and rank #5 with a 38.6% success rate.
Derrick Rose has proven to be a stabilizing force for the Knicks off the bench. When Rose is in the lineup, the Knicks are 18-7. If Rose can remain healthy, the Knicks could shock a team or two in the postseason.
“D-Rose the consummate pro. Whatever you ask him to do, the team has always been first for him from the beginning to now,” said Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Rose has been on a tear, averaging 16 ppg for the Knicks off the bench during their winning streak.
Julius Randle is a near-lock to win NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, but he should be getting more love in the MVP race. Rookie Immanuel Quickley looks like one of the steals of the 2020 NBA Draft and he continues to make big strides with every game.
Wizards on 10-2 ATS Run
Just last month, even we thought the Washington Wizards were dunzo for the season. At the start of April, the Wizards were 17-32; they’ve gone on a 10-1 run since that low point.
When the Wizards decided to keep Russell Westbrook and not move him at the trade deadline, the team settled down. Since then, their late-season run put them in position to secure a spot in the first-ever NBA play-in tournament.
Westbrook averages a triple-double this season with 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 10.9 assists per game. He posted 28 triple-doubles overall through 53 games of action.
Bradley Beal averages 31.1 ppg and ranks #2 in the NBA. Beal was the leading scorer for most of the season before Steph Curry went on an insane scoring binge to take over the lead for the scoring title.
The Wizards beat up on several bad teams over the last two weeks to extend their winning streak to eight games. Five out of their next six games are against playoff teams or bubble teams, so we’ll get to see if the Wiz can continue their postseason surge.
The Wiz host the San Antonio Spurs tonight and the LA Lakers on Wednesday for a shot at a double-digit winning streak.