The 18-37 Wizards welcomed the 34-20 NY Knicks to the Verizon Center tonight, hoping to win a second straight game against the Knicks and continue their strong run after going 7-5 in February, Washington's first winning month of the season.
However, Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 30 points and Ray Felton outplayed John Wall with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Bradley Beal countered with a career-high 29 points and added 11 rebounds, but he didn't get enough help and the Wiz fell 96-88 at home tonight.
The Wizards played without Nene and Chris Singleton started in his place.
Martell Webster opened by hitting a long fall-away just shy of the 3-poit line and then followed it up on the next possessiion with a genuine 3-pointer, staking the Wizards to a 5-2 lead. A few minutes later, John Wall found Bradley Beal open on the 3-point line and Washington had a 9-4 lead. That 3-pointer, Beal's 76th of the season, set the franchise record for a rookie.
The teams battled back and forth for most of the first quarter, with the Wizards usually holding a slim lead. With Washington up 19-17, Carmelo Anthony drove across the paint to the basket, but got his shot blocked and Washington ran out on the break. Once again, Wall found Beal on the perimeter for an open shot and Beal knocked it down. The Wiz led 21-17, with Beal and Emeka Okafor both putting up 7 points at that point. Okafor added five rebounds. The Wizards were shooting 50% from the floor and the Knicks were shooting only 29%, but Washington turnovers were keeping the game close.
Steve Novak came into the game and quickly put the Knicks up 22-21 with a nice bank shot for 2 and then a 3-pointer from the baseline. J.R. Smith followed with a bucket and a dunk and the Knicks went up 26-21 on a 9-point run. Trevor Ariza and Okafor combined to miss four straight free throws that would have stopped the Knicks' run. With 1.1 second left in the first quarter, Ariza double-clutched in the air and drew a silly foul from J.R. Smith. Ariza hit both free throws and the score after one quarter was 26-23, Knicks. New York outscored Washington 9-2 over the last three minutes of the quarter.
Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony had 7 points apiece after one, as did Beal and Okafor. Wall led the game with 3 assists and Okafor with 6 boards.
Bradley Beal opened the second quarter with a beautiful long jumper that cut New York's lead to 26-25, but Anthony came back on the low blocks and shoved Trevor Booker out of the way for a layup, putting the Knicks back up by three. Booker came back with a left-handed hook shot down low and made it 28-27, Knicks. Iman Shumpert countered with a 3-pointer that gave the Knicks a 4-point lead, but Trevor Ariza scored to cut the lead in half, 31-29. A long jumper by Garrett Temple tied the score at 31. After a short Jason Kidd jumper that put the Knicks back up, Trevor Ariza took a pass and drained a 3-pointer, putting the Wiz up 34-33. The Knicks came right back and scored, making the score 35-34, Knicks. After a timeout, Kevin Seraphin hit two free throws [Yes, he attempted free throws!] to put Washington up 36-35, but Amare Stoudemire came back two plays later, got to the line and put the Knicks back up by one.
John Wall came back into the game and hit a midrange jumper to put the Wiz up by one. After Kidd missed an open 3-pointer, Kevin Seraphin got called for an offensive foul off an Ariza miss from 3-point range. Carmelo Anthony hit a fadeaway to put the Knicks back up by one. John Wall answered by blowing past Kidd and laying the ball up before Tyson Chandler could stop him. However, Anthony started to get hot and hit a 16-foot turn-around jumper and got fouled on the play. He made the free throw after a timeout and put the Knicks up 42-40. The Wiz battled back and took a one point lead before John Wall drove down the lane and dropped a beautiful finger-roll into the bucket to put the Wiz up 48-45.
At the following timeout, the Wizards bench announced that Martell Webster was injured and in the locker room. That left the Wizards without both of their normal starting forwards.
The Knicks knocked down a coule of 3-pointers to take a 52-48 lead and then scored on a fast break while the Wizards' offense fell apart into a series of bad, desperate jumpers and turnovers. At halftime the Knicks led 54-48. The Knicks had really amped up their defensive intensity, something the Wiz did not match. It woudl carry over into the third quarter.
The Knicks came out in the second half hot and strong and the Wizards did not and quickly fell behind by 11, 63-52, before Webster, returned from injury, hit a jumper to cut the lead to nine. However, Carmelo Anthony hit another jumper to put the lead back up to 11. Okafor responded with a bank shot down low to cut the lead back down to nine.
After a few minutes of the team's battling back and forth, John Wall penetrated to the basket and chucked a perfect pass out to Ariza on the 3-point line, who calmly drained it to cut the lead to six, 69-63. After a New York turnover, Martell Webster jab-stepped JR Smith out of position and drained a 20-footer to cut the lead to four. After Jason Kidd almost airballed a 3-pointer, the Wizards came back, finding Beal in the corner behind the 3-point line. Beal elevated and fired a perfect shot that dropped perfectly through the net, cutting New York's lead to 69-68. The Knicks called timeout and the Wizards fans roared and the numerous Knicks fans in attendance sat on their hands.
The Knicks swung the ball around until Anthony got an open look at a 3-pointer, but he missed and Washington grabbed the contested rebound. Okafor missed an open shot from the top of the key and Kidd bricked another perimeter shot. Wall took a pass from Beal and got Kidd into the air, drawing the foul on the shot. Knicks fans booed Wall harshly during the free throws, but sank both shots to put the Wiz up 70-69. It was the first lead since 48-46 late in the second quarter. Steve Novak missed a good shot and Bradley Beal extended the lead to 3 after a short drive that led to a short jumper. Beal had 20 points and 9 rebounds with 1:30 left in the third quarter. Seconds later he would add to that total.
However, Carmelo Anthony came back with a slam dunk on a lob pass to cut the Wiz lead to one and John Wall turned the ball over. After JR Smith missed a shot, Wall drove to the bucket quickly and kicked it out to Beal in the corner, who sank yet another 3-pointer to put the Wiz up by four. Amare Stoudemire came back with a spin move on the low blocks to cut the lead to 75-73.
Wall dribbled the shot clock down to 6 seconds [11 in the quarter] before driving into the lane and drawing the foul. Wall made both free throws to put the Wiz up 77-73. JR Smith challenged Beal on the last shot of the quarter, but Beal stayed with him, forcing Smith to take a tough fadeaway jumper that missed. The Wizards used a 21-6 rally over the last 6:30 of the third quarter to get back into the game and take the lead going into the final quarter.
Stoudemire opened the quarter with a short jumper to cut the Wiz lead to two. Beal missed a long shot and the Kidd grabbed the rebound. The Knicks went right back to the low post and Stoudemire, but this time the defense was solid, as the double team attacked a surprised Stoudemire and he turned the ball over on a bad pass. After a foul on the Knicks, Beal chucked up an airball and the Knicks went on the attack again to Stoudemire. Seraphin stood his ground and Stoudemire had the ball stolen, but Beal missed his third straight shot of the quarter. Kidd got a breakaway layup, but John Wall blocked the shot beautifully. The ref missed the call, though, calling goal-tending. [It was not.] Wall was furious and got a technical foul called on him. The Knicks made the foul shot to go up 78-77.
JR Smith hit a 3-pointer to put the visitors up 81-77 and the Knicks were on an 8-0 run to open the quarter. After a timeout, the Wiz committed a turnover and Ray Felton hit a beautiful finger roll high off the glass to put NY up six. Ariza missed a 3-pointer and Felton was blocked by Okafor. Wall streaked down the court and got the fast break layup to stop a 10-0 Knicks run. However, Stoudemire came back with an open outside jumper to put the Knicks up 85-79.
After an offensive rebound, Wall attempted a wide open 3-pointer that he, of course, missed badly. Carmelo threw down a dunk to put the Knicks up by 8, but he mouthed off to the ref Dick Bavetta and got a technical foul called. The Wiz hit the free throw to cut the lead to 87-80.
Ariza played isolation ball and hit a long two-pointer to cut the Knicks' lead to five. John Wall made a great defensive play to break up an alley-oop but Okafor missed a point-blank layup, possibly because of contact that was not called. The Wizards committed two turnovers, but the Knicks missed a couple of open 3-pointers and committed a turnover of their own. Ariza got fouled and made 1 free throw to cut the lead to 4.
after another NY turnover, Beal hit a long 3-pointer to cut the lead to 1. Kidd missed a 3-pointer and John Wall turned the ball over under the New York bench and Tyson Chandler hit 2 free throws after a foul, putting the Knicks up 89-86. It certainly appeared to me as if Wall was pressing in this game, not trusting his outside shot, but attacking the basket too aggressively and committing turnovers as a consequence.
Bradley Beal got fouled in the act of shooting and managed to hit only the second of his two free throws to cut the lead to 89-87. Beal now had 28 points, tying his career high. After a turnover by Carmelo, Webster missed an open 3-pointer and the game went to a timeout.
Carmelo hit a 3-pointer out of the timeout to put NY up 92-87 with just over 2 minutes left in regulation. Wall missed an off balance shot badly and the Knicks rebounded the ball. The Knicks couldn't get a good shot off, but Ariza turned the ball over when he needlessly dribbed the ball on the sideline.
The Knicks failed to score and Beal missed a long jumper. However, Beal raced forward and got his own rebound and drew the foul. Once again, though, Beal could make only the second of his free throws and the lead was cut to four, 92-88.
The dagger came almost 24 seconds later as Ray Felton ran the clock down before cutting into the lane and dropping a perfect teardrop floater over Martell Webster and into the net. The Knicks led 94-88 and the Wiz called timeout with 32.4 seconds left. Beal missed a long 3-pointer and the Knicks grabbed the rebound. The Wiz fouled Carmelo to stop the clock and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.
The Wizards missed their first six shots of the fourth quarter and got outscored 23-11 and that was all she wrote.