The Wizards were heading into tonight’s game against the Knicks with many questions and their season quickly getting out of control. The next several games they play will be crucial toward their already dwindling postseason hopes.
For the most part, the Wizards did well. They played solid defense and had an efficient offense and built a large lead as high as 27 points. Even for much of the fourth quarter, it looked like they will coast to a comfortable victory.
But comfortable victories are hard to come by for the Wizards. The Knicks gave them a big scare thanks to Brandon Jennings. But fortunately, Washington held on late to win 119-112 and improve to 3-8 for the season.
John Wall led the Wizards with 23 points while Otto Porter and Bradley Beal added another 21 and 18 points respectively. For the Knicks, Derrick Rose had a vintage performance with 27 points while Carmelo Anthony added 19 and Brandon Jennings added 17 off the bench.
Let’s get to the two takeaways from tonight’s game:
At least for a night, the Wizards turned a corner on their three point shooting
Three point shooting has been one of the Wizards’ main concerns heading into tonight. They were last in the league in three pointers made, and 27th (31.4 percent) in efficiency. Tonight, the Wizards shot 60 percent (15 of 25 from three). Wall, Beal, and Porter made 10 of those threes. Marcus Thornton and Kelly Oubre added the rest.
Team three point shooting is kind of contagious. If some guys get hot, then “everyone” does. If some guys start bricking shots left and right, then “everyone” misses as well. Fortunately, the former happened.
There’s no excuse for letting a team score 47 points in the fourth. EVER.
I feel that Washington let their foot off the gas in the latter half of the fourth quarter as they let a 23 point lead with 5:14 left in the game quickly evaporate to 10 after Brandon Jennings started going off in typical “Wizards Killer” mode. In fact, Jennings scored 15 of his 17 points in the last quarter.
Give the Knicks credit here for giving themselves a shot to shock the Wizards. And yes, Wall made a clutch shot late to say “Not Tonight” to New York.
But the Knicks scored 47 points on Washington on 68 percent shooting in the last quarter. The Wizards can’t let things like that happen, even if they start the fourth with a 24 point lead and are playing their bench.
In summary, I’m happy the Wizards won. But the Knicks’ meteoric comeback is concerning nevertheless. If they played a better team tonight under similar circumstances, it wouldn’t surprise me if the outcome would have ended up differently.