The New York Knicks stage a late season comeback against the Washington Wizards behind the continued heroics of Mario Hezonja, winning 113-110.
In what could have otherwise been a throwaway game in a concluded season, the Knicks gave the fans something to root for in an exciting comeback against a lackluster Washington Wizards.
For the 3rd game in a row the hero of the night was Mario Hezonja, who lead the Knicks with 30 pts/6 rebs/5 asts, including hitting the go ahead 3-pointer with less than a minute to go in the 4th quarter.
Despite the late game excitement, the start of the game was anything but. With both teams’ seasons ostensibly over, the Knicks and Wizards starters came out playing fast and loose, turning the ball over and missing shots with alarming frequency. It wasn’t until halfway through the 1st quarter that the first stoppage of play occurred, with neither team yet to establish a rhythm.
After the timeout the Knicks came out well and were able to finish the quarter strong, moving the ball around and capitalizing off of poor defense by the Wizards and an equally poor shooting night from Bradley Beal (13 pts on 5/17 shooting).
The good times wouldn’t last for long, as the 2nd quarter belonged to Jeff Green. Green came off the bench in the 2nd and proceed to score all 19 of his points for the evening, bullying his way inside against the Knicks weaker forwards and taking smart shots from mid-range.
Dennis Smith Jr. made his return to the court for the first time since March 30th, but came out in the 2nd with some expected rust and stiffness, clearly not fully recovered from his back injury which had kept him out the past few games. With the explosion from Green, the Knicks trailed the Wizards 56-52 going into the half.
The 3rd quarter seemed to be where the Wizards took control of the game. Behind the strong play of Bobby Portis (11 pts/10 rebs), Thomas Bryant (17pts/7 rebs) and Devin Robinson (10 pts) on both ends, the Wizards were able to pull ahead 89-79 to end the quarter. With the Knicks failing to establish any consistency from outside and the Wizards effectively neutralizing the Knicks interior defenders with a 5-out offense, the opposition seemed confident enough to shutdown Bradley Beal halfway through the 3rd quarter.
This would prove to be a fatal mistake, as the Knicks came out hot to start the 4th and would never look back.
Luke Kornet started the fire, blocking former Knick Chasson Randle at the rim and then proceeding to hit 3s on back-to-back possessions to round out an impressive all around performance (17pts/7 rebs/4 blks). Dennis Smith Jr. would continue the roll, hitting back-to-back shots of his own to pull the Knicks to within 2 with less than 6 minutes remaining.
Ultimately it was Super Mario who would seal the game out, capping off an impressive night and a feel good late-season performance for the Knicks.
The New York Knicks face the Chicago Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday, April 9th at the United Center.