Here's your recap roundup from last night's 106-96 Wizards win over the Knicks. As always, check out our StoryStream and visit Monumental Network for interviews with Randy Wittman, John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, Chris Singleton, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
"Most teams like us, in our situation, we get up for those big games. You want to prepare for those big games. You know it's going to be a packed crowd. You don't want to get blown out and start hearing the boo chants and stuff like that," Wall said after scoring a team-high 21 points with nine assists. "Basically we're just competing. We're competing against every team we play against, no matter who it is. We know those type of teams are capable of knocking you out pretty early, but we just keep fighting."
"Trevor's been just lights out for us," Wittman said. "Defensively, again I know you're going to sit there and say I'm crazy, and I am crazy, but he made Carmelo work for 31. Like I told you guys before, he's the best scorer in the league, I think, bar none, and we made him take 23 shots."
Singleton was one of six Wizards who scored in double figures with none scoring more than John Wall's 21. Their balanced scoring attack is a blessing and curse. While opponents can't focus on stopping a single player the Wizards don't have a player who they can count on for 20 points night in and night out. The Knicks don't have that problem. Carmelo Anthony is arguably the most gifted scorer in the NBA. He scored a game high 31 points but the Wizards forced him to take 23 shots to get there.
"He's a load," said Ariza. "He gets automatic buckets. Anytime you can make somebody shoot more shots than they usually would to score that's a good thing."
Some might consider it a dirty trick, but the Wizards catfished New York in their 106-96 victory before 18,263 at Verizon Center on Wednesday.
The Atlantic Division-leading Knicks are built around Carmelo Anthony and a battalion of shooters that have made them the second-best 3-point shooting team in the NBA.
But the new and resurgent Wizards, ranked 25th, swiped that identity, hitting 10 of their first 14 shots from the arc. Anthony had a game-high 31 points, but the Wizards (13-35) rode their own superstar, John Wall (21 points, nine assists), down the stretch to snap a 10-game skid against New York and garner their seventh win in eight home games.
Wall sliced and diced the Knicks with a speed often unseen on most NBA nights. He scored 21 points on 18 shots with a game-high plus-21, and he made all five of his free-throw attempts. He dropped nine dimes to five different teammates and three of them were for 3-pointers. He accounted for just under 40 percent of the Wizards' points in 39 minutes of action.
Washington started the fourth quarter with yet another run. They scored 8 unanswered points. John Wall picked New York's defense apart. He scored 21 points to go along side 9 assists. He committed 6 turnovers, but I liked the fact that he didn't lose confidence. For a guy coming off an injury, Wall looked just as fast, if not faster, than he was prior to his setback. Welcome back, John.
"As I told the team, that's what a quality NBA game is made up of," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said after the game. "What we had [were] instances where we played very well, and then [the Knicks] would come back for us and play very well. We had instances where we just didn't put our heads down - and this is a team that it is easy to do that against, with as many threes as they take and as hard as it is to cover Carmelo [Anthony]...difficult shots that go in but our guys stayed with it the whole time."
So how about those mighty mighty New York Knicks, huh? Riding a five game win streak, having defeated the Wizards 10 straight times going into the contest..man, their fans probably thought this one was in the books, right?
That's probably why 10,000 of them poured into the Verizon Center last night, morphing the stadium into MSG 2.0. But that's also what made it sweeter to watch them mope towards the arena exits with gloom on their faces and lumps in their throats.
The Knicks' objective was the same with each Wizards possession in the fourth quarter: stop John Wall. They tried different tactics - double-teaming Wall on the pick-and-roll, or trapping him when he dribbled over midcourt. Raymond Felton, J. R. Smith and Iman Shumpert all had their chance to guard Wall. All three failed.
Wall was simply better Wednesday night. His team-high 21 points and 9 assists led the Wizards to an impressive 106-96 victory that snapped the Knicks' five-game winning streak. The Knicks (31-16) trail the Miami Heat by a game and a half for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We expected to come in here and win and I think that's part of our problem," J.R. Smith said. "We just expect teams when we come in the building to lay down and not play and we can't do that."
"It was awful across the board, starting at the top with me," a disgusted Mike Woodson said. "We've got to be better."
Tyson Chandler held the box score in his hands, stared at it for a few seconds and shook his head in disgust. Amar'e Stoudemire was a little more tech-savvy, studying film on his iPad as two assistant coaches, Jim Todd and Darrell Walker, looked over his shoulder and pointed at the screen.
The scene of frustration and confusion inside the Knicks' locker room would perhaps make more sense if the opponent was, say, the Miami Heat or the Oklahoma City Thunder. But this was the Washington Wizards that Mike Woodson's team couldn't stop in the fourth quarter, a losing club that defeated the Knicks, 106-96, by scoring 36 points in the final 12 minutes.
"We can't win the game giving up 36 points, especially down the stretch," Carmelo Anthony said after the Knicks (31-16) had their five-game winning streak snapped.
WASHINGTON - The Knicks hit The Wall Wednesday night - The Wall of Complacency.
After winning all five games of their homestand, the Knicks began a two-game road trip Wednesday night in the nation's capital full of themselves. The Knicks got humbled fast thanks to speedy Wizards point guard John Wall, energized by playing before his college coach, John Calipari, and point-guard legend Magic Johnson.
The disparity in success rate on open outside looks is why, I suppose, I am merely grumpy and not ladling magma into my ears after paying to watch that game. The Knicks have their off nights from downtown-- live by the three, lose to the everfucking Wizards by the three, as they say-- and, aside from Melo and Raymond Felton, this was one of those off nights. J.R. Smith couldn't connect and Jason Kidd remained in his crevasse-deep rut of a shooting slump. Meanwhile, Martell Webster, who is a good shooter and should not be left open, got left open and did good shooting. Trevor Ariza, who is a poor shooter and can usually be left open, got left open and did unpoor shooting. Those two combined to hit 10 threes in 16 attempts and, ya know, that'll do it. There are nights like that. Chris Singleton hit several jumpers on purpose. Ariza had a goddamn four-point play.
I cannot for the life of me fathom why this team/coach either cannot or will not make the seemingly basic strategic changes required to contain the whippet-quick point guards that have been eviscerating this team since, oh, I don't know, the William Howard Taft administration. And frankly, I'm getting plum tuckered of finding different ways to say the same ish over and over. They say the Hell you know is preferable to the one you don't. Well, I'm way too familiar with this circle of the inferno, but here goes...
The pointless, unforced switching, the terrible rotation from such luminaries as Tyson Chandler on down, the decision to double team non-threats like Emeka Okafor, all of it followed hard upon by sluggish, not-even-half-an-assed close outs. It's happened time and time again. You give a guy enough time to solve Fermat's Theorem whilst he idles out on the perimeter, no matter how sub-par a shooter he may be, after he cans a couple, well, then all your precious scouting reports and white board plastered scribblings about tendencies and/or how middling an offensive unit the Thaumaturgies are can be chucked into the dustbin of history.
Coming into the game, Washington ranked 25th in three-point shooting (.340), but tonight they hit 11-20 bombs, aided in large part by the sluggish New Yorkers' inability to close out, which granted myriad Prestidigitators (Chris Singleton? Trevor Ariza???) the time, space and confidence to skewer the hell out of what might have seemed like a sensible, fact-based game plan.
But, overall the defense in the fourth quarter was pretty much a joke. Slow starts in the first, third and the fourth doomed the Knicks tonight. Considering they are the best fourth quarter team in the NBA when it comes to score differential, to be blasted 36-23 was surprising to say the least. Normally, I would want to point out some positives from the Knicks, and there were some, but, losing to Wizards is such a joke that I'm not going to waste the time.