The issues that dogged Washington in each of their previous two losses returned against the Knicks. Though they kept New York from having a big night beyond the arc, they allowed 48 points in the paint. No single player dominated, but every Knick who got playing time scored at least one bucket in the paint.
At other points in the season Washington’s offense would have been enough to carry them through, but not in this one. Bradley Beal was 5-for-17 from the field, Otto Porter was 5-for-13, and Marcin Gortat missed 7 of his 9 shots, including a tip shot in the closing seconds which would have tied the game.
The bench, on the other hand, had a productive night offensively. They combined for 44 points, led by 13 from Kelly Oubre and 11 from Ramon Sessions, but the Knicks’ bench scored 47, so they were still a net negative on the night.
John Wall can’t come back soon enough
Let’s review all those fun talking points from the first few games the Wizards played when John Wall was out and see how they’ve held up:
- Look at this ball movement! - The Wizards only had 25 assists on 37 made shots in this game. The Knicks, who are 21st in assist percentage, finished with more assists in this game.
- They’re playing so consistently! - They just lost to the Knicks, a team that’s lost 19 of their last 22 games. This month they also have a 27 point loss to the Heat and they were a free throw away from losing to the Celtics’ B-Squad.
- Their defense looks so much better! - Since the All-Star break, they Wizards have the 18th-best defense in the league, one spot ahead of the Kings. They were 12th before the break. On top of that, only five teams have given up more points per game in the paint since the break.
Wall’s absence also continues to have a real impact on Marcin Gortat’s production. He was 2-of-9 in this game and since the break, he’s shooting under 45 percent from the field. It turns out not everybody eats.
Sometimes people just miss
If there’s one thing that’s probably not worth getting worked up about from this game, it’s Bradley Beal’s shooting. He was 5-of-17 from the field, but most of his looks from outside were clean, they just didn’t fall.
He’s made over half of his shots in each of the past five games before this, so he should be fine moving forward.
- Jason Smith got six minutes of playing time in the second half. He made his only shot and grabbed two rebounds. He didn’t do anything to hurt Washington’s chances but it was still a curious decision, considering Ian Mahinmi hadn’t done anything all that poorly in the first half. It just felt like Scott Brooks was trying to shake things up and if that’s the case, I suppose Smith makes more sense than Tim Frazier or Chris McCullough as the team’s novelty kick of energy.
- Good: Kelly Oubre was 6-for-8 inside the arc.
- Bad: Kelly Oubre was 0-for-6 on threes.
- At least the three-point defense is still working. The Wizards held the Knicks to six threes, the least they’ve held a team to since January.