For the first time in what feels like years, the Wizards got off to a slow start as the Knicks took an early 16-8 lead. Washington quickly responded with a run of their own to tie things up at 18, and the two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter before ending up knotted at 28 after one.
Washington went with four bench players and Morris to start out the second, and they quickly let a tie game turn into a five-point deficit. Wall and Gortat were subbed back in after about four minutes of game time, and they led a 12-2 run to give Washington their own five-point advantage. The Wizards were able to hold onto their lead and went into intermission up 59-54.
The Wizards came out of the break firing on all cylinders and quickly extended their lead to 19 after a 16-2 run. The Knicks did battle back, but the Wizards proved to be too much as they went into the fourth quarter with their lead sitting at 15 and ended up cruising to a 16-point victory.
Here’s what we noticed in the win:
John Wall is good at passing basketballs
Coming off a career-high tying 19 assists in the Wizards’ Sunday win over the Pelicans, Wall once again showed off his passing ability with 13 assists against New York.
For those of you who are not math majors, that is now 32 assists over his last two games.
Wall was able to find Gortat and Morris on countless lobs down low, and he also did a great job of leading the break and finding shooters on the perimeter.
While Wall is having his best scoring season ever, let’s not forget that passing is what made the Wall-Star an All-Star (x4) in the first place. He continues to rack up assists and double-doubles like no other guard in the Eastern Conference.
Oh and, by the way, this isn’t a Wall pass but it still definitely needed to be included:
What Bradley Beal shooting slump?
About a week ago, Beal was in the middle of a three-point shooting slump where he went 1-21 from deep over the course of three games. While the sample size was too small to panic, it was definitely alarming how much he was struggling.
It is now clear that there was no reason to worry.
Beal was posting ridiculous 56/41/83 shooting splits in the games since that “slump” leading up to tonight, and he was just as spectacular against the Knicks. He finished with 28 points on 12-18 shooting and had this nifty third quarter finish:
Beal continues to prove himself worthy of his max contract.
The big men played big
The Wizards have finished January 12-4 and Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat are a big part of the reason why. Morris averaged more than 16 points and eight rebounds for the month while shooting better than 40 percent from three, while Gortat shot over 60 percent and averaged a double double.
The two big men once again came through tonight, as they combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds on 16-21 shooting (!!). Gortat has been steady with his play all season, but if the Wizards keep getting this sort of production out of Morris they will be nearly unstoppable.
Kelly Oubre stepped up
While Otto Porter’s final numbers ended up looking fine, this was not the kind of performance we have become accustomed to seeing from the NBA’s three-point shooting leader. Porter ended up with 10 points, but did not score in the first half and finished 0-3 from deep.
As you know by now, the Wizards bench is awful. That makes it problematic when any starter has a down game because of the lack of options to back them up. Kelly Oubre made sure this was not an issue against the Knicks.
Oubre finished with 14 points on 5-7 shooting and was able to pick up the slack with Otto having an off night. Even the most consistent players - like Porter - will be off from time to time, and it is great to see Oubre stepping up in a big way.
Tweets of the night
Bullets Forever was killing it with the puns tonight.
Here is Jake Whitacre on Kristaps Porzingis missing tonight’s game with an illness:
Kristaps Porsickofthis— Jake Whitacre (@jakewhitacre) February 1, 2017
And here is Nick Bilka on Ron Baker after an and-one layup:
Ron Baker is Ron cooking folks— Nbilka (@nbilka) February 1, 2017
I’ll give Jake a 7/10 (not his best work), and Nick a solid 8.5.