After a disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons last time out, the Wizards entered “The Mecca” for a showdown with the New York Knicks.
The sides had played twice this season entering Thursday’s bout, with New York coming out on top both times in D.C.
The Wizards fell in New York, 113-109.
Before the action even started, we had fireworks in the Wizards starting lineup. Newcomer Marvin Bagley III started in place of Daniel Gafford to make his Wizards debut. Gafford (concussion) missed Thursday’s game after receiving an elbow to the head from Isaiah Stewart.
Offense was hard to come by early on, with both sides struggling. Deni Avdija broke the tie with two free throws and added a layup, while Jordan Poole knocked down a mid-range jumper to put the Wizards in front.
The lead didn’t last long as Julius Randle sunk three-straight shots to put his squad back in front, 14-6. Randle was checked defensively by Avdija, who notably downplayed Randle’s 41-point performance last time out.
The start for Marvin Bagley didn’t go as planned early on, with the newly-acquired big man missing two point-blank layups as well as two free throws. However, he got things in check after receiving a nice pass from Jordan Poole. Bagley slammed it home through contact for his first points as a Wizard, forcing a Knicks timeout. The 6’10” center played nearly the entire first quarter, going 3-5 with six points.
The Wizards finished the quarter on a high note, ending on a 12-2 run.
Washington’s bench unit began the second frame with similar success. Delon Wright was a bright spot, diving all over the hardwood, plucking steals and knocking down threes. His activity helped keep the Wizards close.
Corey Kispert added a couple layups plus a three on his way to seven points. Washington led 36-33 halfway through the quarter. A Jordan Poole three gave Washington its biggest lead of the night at 39-33, with the bench unit outscoring the Knicks bench, 14-5.
Inevitably, New York found a rhythm late, getting into paint and finishing through contact. Brunson led the way as the Knicks clawed back, retaking the lead at 42-41.
In a low-scoring half, New York entered the break on top, 46-45.
Avdija & Kuzma: 8 pts
Bagley III: 6 pts
Brunson: 16 pts
Randle: 12 pts
OG Anunoby began the restart with a three, awakening from his quiet first half. His teammates came ready to play as well, with Donte DiVincenzo cashing in from range. New York jumped out to a 52-45 lead.
Jordan Poole had a couple wide open looks from long range and failed to convert. The 24-year-old guard appeared frustrated. A Knicks technical foul sent Poole to line where he knocked down a free throw that got him calibrated. The very next possession, Poole found himself wide open, settled his feet and sank the three.
New York grew their lead to nine before the Wizards responded with a much-needed 13-3 run. Bilal Coulibaly got things started with a three, and Marvin Bagley poured in four points as Washington retook the lead, 69-68.
Donte DiVincenzo picked up the slack right away, splashing consecutive threes. The Knicks grew their lead to nine and looked poised to break away before a Landry Shamet heater. The SG scored eight-straight points to close the gap. Washington trailed by one halfway through the final frame.
Jalen Brunson took over late and proved too much for the Wizards defense, capping a 41-point night with a win.
Washington fell to 7-33 on the season, picking up a second-consecutive loss.
J. Brunson: 41 pts
J. Randle: 21 pts
M. Bagley: 20 pts
J. Poole: 24 pts
T. Jones: 15 assists (Career-high)