New York allowed the Washington Wizards to score 35 points in the opening quarter… There was absolutely no defense being played by the Knicks, allowing the Wizards to convert on 65% of their field goals in the first quarter. Washington was led by their All-Star point John Wall; who just zoomed by Jose Calderon… scoring 11 of his total 28 points in the opening period.
Although, New York were able to keep up with the Wizards offensively, at least somewhat anyways… The Knicks scored 50 points by intermission, but allowed Washington to knock down ten three-pointers by the half! The Wizards only average 8.7 three-pointers per game. New York could not keep track of Jared Dudley in the first half, who knocked down a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. It was a really high-scoring first half, with Washington leading 63-50 at halftime.
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With Washington leading by as many as 16 points, the Knicks showed some fight and did not give up – storming all the way back in the third quarter. Rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis went off in the period, scoring 14 points of his 20 points in the third quarter.
Porzingis really showed off his offensive prowess in the quarter, displaying his nice shooting touch by knocking down a couple of three-pointers and a couple of bank-shots. Probably most impressive was when Porzingis showed off a nice left-handed hook-shot.
But there was no doubt the highlight of the night for the 7’3″ Latvian, was when he made a spin move against Dudley and tomahawk dunked it on Marcin Gortat.
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New York outscored Washington 33-20 in the third quarter, tying the game up at 83 entering the final period of play. The Knicks were able to flip the script on the Wizards in the third quarter, converting on 62.5% of their field goals, while knocking down three triples to catch up.
The game would go back-and-forth in the fourth quarter, but in the end the Knicks just could not keep up with Wall, who completely and utterly dominating the final period. Wall scored 15 points and handed out 4 assists in crunch time! The game looked like it was getting out of hand when Wall scored seven points in a row. Porzingis got caught switching onto Wall on consecutive possessions and the lighting fast point guard just shook the big man with a fadeaway jumper both times…
Then Wall just stepped back for a cold-blooded three-pointer with 1:51 remaining in the game to give Washington a double-digit lead; 106-96.
Carmelo Anthony though refused to go quietly into the night, forcing his way to the free-throw line and then knocking down a three-pointer to cut the Knicks’ deficit to 106-101 with 1:07 still remaining. With a couple of timeouts still remaining, New York still had a chance to win the game.
Washington tried to catch the Knicks off-guard and quickly in-bounded the ball to Wall, who recklessly dribbled it up the court. Porzingis stripped the ball from Wall cleanly, but was called for a foul… Despite not getting the call, New York got the stop they needed when Porzingis blocked Wall on the ensuing play, igniting a fastbreak for the Knicks. Arron Afflalo would get fouled and score on a layup, or so we thought…
Unfortunately… for New York… the referees decided to review the play… and ruled that Afflalo was outside the restricted area and charged into Bradley Beal… -_-“ Personally, I thought the call could have gone either way but since the game was in Madison Square Garden, the call should have favored the home team.
New York would have to resort to fouling to prolong the game, fortunately Beal split the free-throws to give Washington a 107-101 lead with 39.1 seconds left in the game. The Wizards would give up a quick layup to Anthony on the following possession, and Beal was sent to the charity-stripe again. However, Beal would miss both free-throws!
The door was left open for the Knicks, and Langston Galloway took advantage – knocking down a three-pointer with 8.5 seconds left to make a one-point game; 107-106. New York continued the fouling game, fouling Wall; who calmly drained both clutch free-throws. Up by three-points, the Wizards did not take any chances and decided to foul Anthony. Knicks’ superstar would make both free-throws, and then New York would send Wall to the line again.
Wall would make both free-throws, once again – making it a three-point game with 4.3 seconds remaining. Shockingly, Calderon was able to advance the ball to Galloway for a wide-open three-pointer! Unfortunately… Galloway was just off, and the Knicks enter the All-Star break on a six game losing streak.
In Rambis’ coaching debut, the Knicks played well despite another slow start. Five players were in double-figures scoring, with Anthony leading the way with a game-high 33 points. Anthony also collected his 16th double-double of the season by grabbing 13 rebounds.
Tuesday night was all John Wall though, who finished the game with 28 points, 5 rebounds, and 17 assists! Wall was two assist shy of tying his career high, set earlier this year against the Sacramento Kings. Wall was a terror on offense, collapsing the Knicks as he got into the paint at will… then he would kick it out, usually to a wide-open three-point shooter… The Wizards knocked down a season-high 16 three-pointers against New York…
With the All-Star break here, it will be interesting to see what changes Rambis will explore for the second half of the season. Perhaps maybe there might even be a roster change when the break is over, although Phil Jackson said there was little chance of that during the game. Which is unfortunate, but most probable since the Knicks have almost no assets.
Either way, looking forward to the second half of the season and hopefully Anthony takes it easy and rest up during All-Star Weekend.