The Washington Wizards’ 106–102 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday night started with a Bradley Beal block and a made three, which helped the Wizards jump out to an 18–9 lead. And it wasn’t just the offense that was clicking early; Washington held New York to 3-of-14 shooting from the field and 0-of-5 from behind the arc.
The Knicks battled back with contributions from Elfrid Payton and Alec Burks, who had 27 points off the bench. The visitor’s hot start was nullified after the first 12 minutes, as the two sides were separated by just five points at the break. But after dealing both Troy Brown Jr. and Moe Wagner at the trade deadline, there was a marked improvement on the defensive end; New York shot 8–28 from the field and did not make a deep ball in the first quarter.
The beginning of the second saw Russell Westbrook (13 points, 18 rebounds) notch his league-leading 16th consecutive game with a steal. A 6–0 start for the Wizards forced Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau to call for an early stoppage. New York’s first field goal of the second came at the 9:29 mark, but sloppy play and turnovers gave the home side a conduit back into the game.
Garrison Mathews (16, 3–4 from behind the arc) opened the third with a fadeaway three from the left corner, but the focus turned to Beal, who emphatically tossed his headband aside after his shooting struggles continued.
But the removal of Beal’s headwear didn’t help either him or his team, as the Wizards went almost four minutes without making a field goal. In any other game, shooting 6-for-20 from the field in the third might have caused a lead to slip away, but Washington preserved a majority of theirs thanks to New York going 6-for-23 from the field in the penultimate frame.
The Knicks (23–22) began their surge as the fourth got underway, pulling within seven only a minute and a half into the quarter. Without their leading scorer, Julius Randle, on the floor, New York ran their offense through RJ Barrett (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Burks, closing the gap to three less than four minutes in.
The game’s first deadlock came at the 4:45 mark, with both teams at 91 apiece. The tie, however, lasted less than a minute; Immanuel Quickley (16) drained a three to put his side up, and they never trailed again. Late threes from the visitors made the game interesting, but a 21–9 run — led by Randle, who was held for most of the game by Rui Hachimura (21) — to close out the affair cost the Wizards yet another win.