Here's your recap roundup for Friday night's loss to the New York Knicks. Be sure to check out our StoryStream as well these postgame interviews with Randy Wittman, Bradley Beal, John Wall and Trevor Ariza, courtesy of Monumental Network.
Nene's velvet sport coats are once again on full display at the end of the bench, revealing the Brazilian big man's keen fashion sense and exposing a glaring problem for the Washington Wizards; a problem that even the emergence of Bradley Beal and the presence of a more assertive John Wall were unable to mask during a 96-88 loss on Friday night against the New York Knicks.
Beal finished with a career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds, picking up his third double-double on a night when he was inexplicably denied a third straight Eastern Conference rookie of the month award. Although he'd averaged 17.5 points per game in February, the honor went to Cleveland's Dion Waiters, who averaged 15.8 points but played four more games during the month.
On his first basket of the night, Beal also set the Wizards rookie record for 3-pointers, finishing with four to give him 79 for the year, three more than Steve Blake in 2003-04. He also sparked a 12-2 run after the Wizards had falled behind by 11 points in the third quarter when he followed a rare missed from long distance.
Bradley Beal was absolutely fantastic. He scored a career high (29) efficiently (10-21). He also led the Wizards in rebounding with 11. As I've said before, I think his success on the boards is indicative of why he is successful. While others might take plays off or give up on a play early, Beal bring energy on every aspect of a half court possession. It's one of the many reasons he has a future in this league.
On Wednesday against the Pistons, the Wizards had a disastrous third quarter and a tremendous fourth. Tonight was the inverse of that for Washington in the second half. In the third quarter, Bradley Beal took over with 12 points and the Wizards won the quarter 29-19 and went ahead by four. The final frame saw the Knicks start the quarter with a 10-0 run to pull ahead by six early, but a Beal three brought that back to one with four minutes to go. The Wizards would not hit a field goal the rest of the way though and the Knicks would put an eight point distance between themselves and the Wizards for the victory.
"I feel like I lost the game for us, a couple turnovers in the fourth quarter in transition," said Wall, who had a game-high five giveaways, including two of the Wizards' four in the last five minutes when they trailed at one point 87-86. "Sometimes the calls go your way and sometimes they don't. I put the game on my hands."
In one key sequence that began with Washington leading 77-75, Beal missed a 3-point try at one end, allowing Kidd to head the other way all alone. Wall gave chase and, just as Kidd tried to lay the ball in, the Wizards guard swiped his hand to block it. Goaltending was called, and Wall leaped in the air and punched a fist in anger, earning a technical, too. Anthony made the free throw to give New York a lead, and it never trailed again.
For the second game in a row Nene sat out and for the second game in a row the Wizards came up just short. John Wall bounced back from his horrible outing against the Pistons. He had more points and assists in the first half than he did in the entire game against Detroit. This game was the sort of team effort the Wizards needed, especially against a Knick team that won their last game despite a 54 point effort from Steph Curry. And a team effort was exactly what they got tonight. It just wasn't enough.
"It was a tight game," Wittman said. "But our guys battled, I don't have a complaint about that. We stayed with what we wanted to do and did a good job of it. Against a team like this, you can't miss 10 free throws and a combination of other things. For us, we have to be better at the free throw line and take care of the ball down in crunch time. Those are the main things we have to concentrate on and do a better job."
Wall was more confident in how he ran the offense, blowing past Jason Kidd, 39, and finishing at the rim early on. Beal had 11 points in the first half as the lead changed hands 14 times. SF Trevor Ariza came off the bench to contribute nine points. The Wizards could've went into the half with the lead, but J.R. Smith nailed a three-pointer, then stripped Emeka Okafor and assisted Carmelo Anthony on a fast-break layup. The Knicks, who fell 106-96 to the Wizards here on Feb. 6, led 54-48. Anthony finished the game by leading all scorers with 30 points for New York on 10-for-24 shooting. His three-pointer with 2:21 left spotted the Knicks a 92-87 lead. The Wizards closed by missing three free throws and committing four turnovers in the last 5:16.
Anthony, who grew up in nearby Baltimore, was cheered all night and applauded warmly by a vocal contingent of Knicks fans as he left the court after the final buzzer.
The Wizards (18-39) had been surging since the return of John Wall, their star point guard, winning 7 of their previous 10 games - including a Feb. 6 victory over the then-slumping Knicks.
Wall had 16 points and 6 assists, but the Knicks kept him in check and never let the Wizards run away in transition. The rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards with a career-high 29 points. His 3-pointer cut the Knicks' lead to 87-86 late in the fourth quarter, but Tyson Chandler answered with two free throws before Anthony hit the 3-pointer that effectively iced the game.
The win was the third straight for the Knicks (35-20). But it was hardly an impressive result. They blew an 11-point third quarter lead and benefited from Washington's lack of poise and poor aim in the final period. The Wizards entered the fourth quarter with a 77-73 lead, only to score 11 points. They missed 14 of 17 shots, went 4-for-7 from the foul line, committed five turnovers and looked every bit like a team that is 18-39. "We didn't want to let this one go," Anthony said. "We know what happened in the fourth last time."
Three weeks ago, the Knicks couldn't contain Wizards point guard John Wall and limped out of here with a loss. Friday night, Wall scored just two of his 16 points in the final period and had five turnovers and six assists.
I don't know if I'd call that a revenge win or anything, but the Knicks did take care of the Wizards on the road tonight, paying them back for the ugliness in early February. The win had a lot of the same tides as that loss a few weeks ago, including a third-quarter run that seemed to have the Knicks in control before they collapsed again, squandering an 11-point lead. They dominated the fourth, though, pulling back ahead on a questionable goaltend call (and follow-up technical) on John Wall, then widening the gap behind a couple big three-pointers, some Raymond Felton drives, and a whole bunch of stops. As BJabs pointed out, New York made up for a ten-point third-quarter margin by winning the fourth 23-11.
The Knicks (35-20) made their adjustments against Washington. Since Wall came back from a prolonged knee injury, the Wizards have a winning record (13-11). Wall's Wizards pounded the Knicks three weeks ago when Wall dominated and Washington scored 36 points in the fourth.
Anthony called it a "payback game'' before tip-off and it became just that. The Knicks trailed 77-73 entering the fourth after blowing an 11-point third-quarter lead. But they went on an 8-0 run to seize the momentum and won the quarter, 23-11.
So what if this win over the Wizards, who beat them here three weeks ago, was filled with a few too many hand-wringing moments? Mike Woodson credited his team's defense for "coming to life" in the fourth quarter, and that proved to be the difference.
The Knicks outscored the Wizards 23-11 in the final quarter, and Carmelo Anthony helped the Knicks pull away with a three-pointer with 2:23 left that gave them a 92-87 lead. "We didn't want to let this one go," Anthony said.
But it was the Knicks who used a 14-2 run to start the fourth quarter and a 9-2 run to end it, to take control of a game that almost had the look of getting away from them in the middle portion of the stanza. J.R. Smith, who had 13 points and game-highs of 11 rebounds and three steals, fouled out in the final minute as the Wizards were trying to mount a comeback. But in the end, New York's experience and timely shots, and Washington's miscues, ended a game that was a lot closer than the final score indicated.
Otherwise, the Knicks gave up another big game to an opposing guard in Bradley Beal who, though a promising player, cut up New York's defense with an ease that was disconcerting. Perhaps stranger, was Mike Woodson's continuing hesitance to use Shumpert to slow down the opposition's best perimeter player. In this one, he stuck with a still cold-shooting Jason Kidd down the stretch longer than felt necessary, even if Kidd did make a few heady plays along the way.