Neither team had much trouble scoring to begin the night. Washington started the game 7–14 from the field, while New York went 5–10. At the game’s first timeout, Washington led, 16–13. Out of the stoppage, a Russell Westbrook (14 points, four rebounds, 12 assists) turnover led to an easy two for the home side. The teams continued to trade blows throughout the first, as Bradley Beal (22, four and four) and Julius Randle (37 points on 70-percent three-point shooting) worked to out-duel the other. The Knicks began to heat up from behind the arc (5–8), but Washington’s seven second-chance points kept the gap to eight after one, although the final score of 131–113 contradicted the back-and-forth nature of the first 12 minutes.
With Beal on the bench, the second unit allowed the lead to balloon to 13 points, which prompted Scott Brooks to ask for a break. When the league’s leading scorer returned to the court, the Wizards began to cut into the Knicks’ lead; the visitors scored four quick points following the timeout. But with New York’s all-star, Randle, back in the game, things started to get out of hand. The second half of the quarter saw New York outscore Washington 19–10. The away side also committed 11 first-half turnovers and went into halftime down 20.
New York picked up where they left off in the early stages of the third — a 10–4 run to start the quarter was capped by an RJ Barrett (21 points, 8–17 from the field) and-one. Brooks then looked to stop the bleeding with his side down 26. Out of the timeout, Randle hit three threes to send the Knicks’ bench into a frenzy. With the quarter nearly halfway done, the Wizards found themselves down by 29 points with not much going right. The play that epitomized the first 36 minutes of the game came in the middle stages of the third: Beal found Westbrook ahead of the defense, but the mercurial guard’s layup was too strong and what should have been an easy two points amounted to an empty trip down the court.
The Wizards’ starting five to open the fourth reflected the 28-point deficit they found themselves in, as Deni Avdija, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura (the only other player in double figures with 11), Raul Neto and Moe Wagner went to work. With depth pieces for both teams taking over, the overall play devolved to shot clock violations and air-ball threes. Randle checked back in at the 7:32 mark to preserve the integrity of the game, but the outcome was never truly in doubt. Although Washington (15–27) suffered one of their more embarrassing defeats of the season, a Thursday night match in the same building will provide Washington the perfect redemption opportunity.