Washington 90, New York 89, Game 76 of 82 (Wizards 40-36)
Friday night, the Washington Wizards took on a New York Knicks team on a three-game winning streak, including a Wednesday night 29-point home win over Brooklyn. On a night where the Knicks’ J.R. Smith almost single-handedly kept his team in the game, the Wizards’ Bradley Beal came alive in the fourth quarter to give his team a nail-biting win.
Washington shot 49% from the field, and tallied 41 rebounds (12 offensive), 18 assists on 38 baskets, 7 steals and 15 turnovers. The Wizards blocked no shots during the game. Beal scored 28 points, including 11 of the team’s last 13 points of the game. John Wall had 19 points and 9 assists, overcoming 7 turnovers. Marcin Gortat added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
New York shot 45% from the field. The Knicks collected 34 rebounds (8 offensive), 23 assists on 34 baskets, 9 steals, 16 turnovers and 1 blocked shot. Smith had a game-high 32 points, including 8-of-16 from three-point range. A’mare Stoudamire added 16 points. Carmelo Anthony struggled to a 5-of-14 night from the field for 10 points.
Washington opened the game with purpose, leading 27-21 at the end of the first quarter. Each Wizard starter had a field goal in the first four minutes of the game. Smith’s 10 points and Anthony’s six gave Knicks fans something to cheer. A Martell Webster three-pointer gave the Wizards some breathing room with 25 seconds left in the quarter. Things looked good for Washington’s prospects the rest of the way.
The Wizards’ fortunes reversed in the second quarter, as they only scored 12 points in the 12 minutes (6-of-21 from the field in the quarter, 28.6%). As Washington struggled, New York didn’t do much better (7-of-19 from the floor, 36.8%). Smith’s back-to-back three-pointers in the half’s final minute gave the Knicks a 43-39 lead at the break. Each team only had one player in double figures in the first half. Wall led the Wizards with 11 points and 5 assists at halftime. Smith had 19 in the first half for New York.
Washington showed grit in the third quarter, fighting their way back to take the lead at the 3:19 point. Wall’s two free throws and subsequent dunk on consecutive possessions gave the Wizards a 62-60
lead. A Tyson Chandler dunk and five points from Smith promptly put New York back out in front, 67-64, as the period ended.
The Wizards opened the fourth quarter with a quick seven points in 97 seconds, on a three-pointer from Martell Webster, a Drew Gooden jumper and an Andre Miller fade away jumper. No sooner did Washington take that 71-67 lead, when a Stoudemire layup, and threes from Pablo Prigioni, Smith and Tim Hardaway, Jr. gave the Knicks a 78-75 lead at the 7:56 remaining point. After Smith scored the last of his 32 points on a jumper with 7:06 left, Beal picked up the pace for the Wizards. He hit the back half of two foul shots, picked up a traditional three-point play from a Iman Shumpert foul, and then went jumper-dunk-jumper down the stretch. After Raymond Felton’s clutch three with 33.5 seconds remaining put New York up 89-88, Washington called timeout. After the timeout, Beal negotiated around a Gortat screen on the left wing, elevated in traffic from about 12 feet away, and drained a clutch jumper of his own. Smith tried to respond with a three with two seconds remaining, but came up empty.
Washington gets for its next back-to-back a home test against feisty Chicago (Saturday, 5 April), followed by a break before hosting resurgent Charlotte (Wednesday, 9 April), before going to Orlando (Friday, 11 April). Then, it’s the last two regular season home games, against Milwaukee (Saturday, 12 April) and Miami (Monday, 14 April). The regular season finale is at Boston (Wednesday, 16 April). Friday night’s win was big, but another test looms against another competitive team. This is no time for Washington to slack off.
Follow Us on Twitter:
DCSK Contributor Ralph Thompson Jr., @SomRandomOlDude
Check Out My Blog – somerandomolddude.blogspot.com