The Wizards rushed out to 15-6 lead, mostly by taking advantage of New York's weak perimeter defenders in pick and rolls and pushing the ball in transition. On the other end of the floor, John Wall roamed freely off of Jose Calderon, and the only Knicks player to give the Wizards any real trouble was Robin Lopez. The Wizards ended the first quarter up 35-21.
The Knicks made a comeback early in the second quarter, as coach Kurt Rambis elected to leave Carmelo Anthony in against the Wizards' bench mob. New York cut the deficit to five, but the lead widened again as Randy WIttman began to rotate his starters back into the game, and the Wizards went into halftime with a 63-50 lead. The Wizards scored 16 fast break points to the Knicks' 4, and Wall had a near double-double with 11 points and 9 assists.
The third quarter started as too many Wizards games do: A once double-digit lead vanished. Kristaps Porzingis remembered his three-point shot, hitting two on consecutive possessions. The Wizards' offense stagnated. Poetically, former Wizard Kevin Seraphin gave the Knicks their first lead of the game 79-78.
Things got a little weird in the fourth quarter. Neither team was able to get any real separation. A potentially momentum-changing and-1 call for Arron Afflalo with 44 seconds to play, which could have potentially put the Knicks down just one, was reviewed and switched to a charge call. Beal was fouled and made one of his two free throws to give the Wizards a 107-101 lead. Langston Galloway hit a long three to make it 107-104, and then the fouling began. Both teams were out of timeouts.
Anthony and Wall traded free throws, with the Wizards maintaining their three-point lead. On the final possession of the game, the Knicks successfully inbound and Galloway sprang free for a three to tie, missed, and the Wizards left the Garden with a 111-108 victory.
Notes from the Game
House of Guards dominate, but rotation questions remain
John Wall had 28 points, 5 rebounds, 17 assists and only 1 turnover, and played 43 minutes. Bradley Beal had 28 points, along with 3 rebounds and 3 steals. With the Wizards trying not to over do it with Beal's minutes, the old rotation of having Beal log heavy minutes with the bench was disrupted. It's no coincidence that New York's first big push came with their All-Star, Anthony, going against an all-bench unit for the Wizards. Going forward, Wittman will need to find a way to stagger Wall and Beal more without overloading either one.
Jared Dudley vs. Kristaps Porzingis was surprisingly enjoyable
Though power forward is arguably Jared Dudley's best position in the modern NBA, there is no universe where the 7'0, skilled, outside-shooting Porzingis shouldn't be a matchup nightmare for him. But Dudley solidified his Film Room All-Star status by making it just hard enough for Porzingis to get position offensively, and constantly slipping away from him to nail threes on the other end. The tables turned in the second half, where Porzingis seemed to finally remember that he was both taller and faster than Dudley, draining two threes to open the third quarter and doing this:
You are a bad man, Kristaps.