Dec 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) works against New York Knicks point guard Beno Udrih (18) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Washington Wizards defeat the New York Knicks 102-101. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Nobody felt safe in the final moments. Even when the New York Knicks battled back from 15-down to take a lead in the third quarter, nobody felt safe. The Knicks’ offense was executing, mostly. The ball was moving, Beno Udrih, playing big minutes in Pablo Prigioni’s absence, was getting penetration and making things happen. Carmelo Anthony was taking to the post, and whipping the ball out for three-pointers when a double-team was sent. When the Wizards had the gall to play ‘Melo one-on-one, he drained face-up jumpers. Still, nobody felt safe. After all, we’d seen this story before.
The Knicks suffered an early drought on offense in the fourth quarter, and the Wizards turned were back in it. Despite the Knicks’ offense regaining form, their defense just wasn’t coming up with the proper stops. Bradley Beal, nearly single-handedly, ate the hearts of Knicks fans thinking the Knicks might escape with this victory. Beal had already sank a three-pointer to make it a one-point game. Free throws from Andrea Bargnani made it three. When Beal pulled up from deep with the shot-clock running down — thanks to some actually good defense from the Knicks — everyone knew he would drain it, despite Bargnani’s solid contest. Tie game.
There were 45 seconds remaining — the perfect amount of time to go for a two-for-one, leaving the Knicks the last shot of the game. Instead, New York fumbled around, trying to get the ball to Anthony in the post. Beno Udrih swung it to Bargnani on the elbow, who froze, and then thankfully, found Udrih cutting to the basket for free throws. He, of course, sank one of two, making it a one-point game.
The Wizards called timeout, leaving the Knicks plenty of time to make a game plan. Insert the best defenders, give the foul they were supposed to give. Don’t give up an open layup — that kind of stuff. Instead, Beal got the ball, isolated on the left wing, he drove right around Udrih, who should NOT have been guarding Beal, and got an open layup. There was no help defense within ten feet of the basket. Udrih did not give the foul. No worries, right? Down one, the Knicks had seven seconds and three timeouts. They could advance the ball, make substitutions, draw up a play. Nope.
Instead, the Knicks argued for several seconds before inbounding the ball, and not calling timeout. Anthony, confused, jogged up the court, and launched a contested, leaning three-pointer that didn’t even get rim. The buzzer sounded, the Knicks lost, Anthony’s headband slammed to the ground, the Knicks left the floor, the fans left confused, angry. The team felt the same way.
“I probably should have taken the timeout there at the end,” Woodson said. “That’s on me.” Yup, it is.
J.R. Smith stated, “Woody’s gonna put it on himself that he should’ve called timeout. But we as players should’ve called timeout.” Yup, you should have.
Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring tweeted that Shumpert said the team didn’t discuss calling a timeout if they allowed a basket on the Wizards’ last shot because they largely assumed they’d get a stop. Nope.
Carmelo Anthony on Woodson: “If he says it’s his fault, it’s his fault.”
The Knicks keep coming up with new ways to lose, but this one feels like the most sorry. There’s absolutely no excuse for blowing a lead to another bad team, especially when they had a timeout to discuss the game plan before Washington’s final shot, and they had THREE timeouts to use afterwards. They could’ve advanced the ball, drew up a play with the 6.9 seconds remaining, and then still used two timeouts if things weren’t going according to plan. None of it happened. Instead, the Knicks got a ridiculously low percentage shot from Anthony that everybody knew would miss. The 2013-14 New York Knicks.
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