Bob McAdoo, who mised the New York Knick's opener Tuesday night with a hamstring pull, is a probable starter tonight against the Washington Bullets In Madison Square Garden.

The game, which will start at 7.30 p.m., will be televised by WDCA-TV-20. It is the first of 15 games to be aired under the new contract between the station and the Bullets. Tony Roberts and Mike Riordan will be the announcers.

McAdoo has worked out with the Knicks the last three days and has reported that his leg has improved.

If he doesn't start, new coach Willis Reed will go with Earl Monroe and either Butch Beard or Jim Cleamons at the guards, Lonnie Shelton at center and Spencer Haywood and Jim McMillian at the forwards.

Reed is trying to change the Knicks' fortunes by turning them into a running team. To speed the switch, he gave up guard Walt Frazier,once the heart of the team,as compensation for Cleamons, the ex-Cleveland star.

The Knicks have been bolstered by the addition of three talented rookies - Glen Gondrezick from Nevada-Las Vegas, Ray Williams from Minnesota and Toby Knight from Notre Dame. All threeadd quickness to what has been a slow team.

Last year, the teams split four games.Each managed a victory on the other's home court.