The Washington Wizards are starting to get their act together, after struggling in games against sub .500 teams they’ve now beat both the Bulls and Knicks. The Wizards beat New York 121-103 last night at Capital One arena. It’s too early to say if that issue is officially over, Marcin Gortat said as much after the game. “Ask me in another 10 or 20 games.” That’s the way to look at it, both John Wall and Brad Beal had a similar, measured view of that as well. The trio of Gortat, Wall, and Beal combined to score 73 points. Marcin had his best offensive game of the year to this point, 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Beal had another well rounded game with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Wall had 25 points and 9 assists.
New York was led by DMV native Michael Beasley, scoring 20 points off the bench and 14 of them in the fourth quarter. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Washington’s defense in the third quarter changed the outcome of this game, both teams were shooting very well prior to that point.
Gorat got off to a hot start in this one, scoring 8 points in the first quarter alone. He did so by making himself available with timely cuts, making the most of those opportunities, going 4-for-4 from the floor. He wasn’t alone as Beal continues his hot play, fresh off winning Player of the Week in the Eastern Conference by scoring 8 points. The Wizards did most of their damage inside the three point line, moving the ball well and scoring efficiently. At one point they were shooting 85% in the quarter, that would lead you to think they were dominating the Knicks. That wasn’t the case as the visitors were finding success offensively as well, shooting 59% from the floor (Washington shot 68.4%). Porzingis led the way with 9 points and Kanter chipped in with 8, one of the big differences was that the Knicks hit their foul shots and the Wizards didn’t. The Knicks close the quarter strong after falling down by as many as 8 points, cutting the deficit to just one.
New York started the second quarter where the first left off, a quick 9-1 run helped them gain separation over the Wizards. While their second unit isn’t as potent as Chicago’s, they presented a challenge none the less. Rookie guard Frank Ntilikina would score 7 points in his five minutes of playing time, he was very efficient in doing so. Known for his physical tools and defensive prowess, he displayed an impressive offensive arsenal.. Coming off a screen to hit a three pointer and showing great footwork in hitting a one legged fadeaway over Mike Scott.
The Wizards would respond quickly, both Wall and Beal got going. Scoring 19 points combined in the quarter, Beal had 10 and Wall had 9. Gortat cut into the lead by getting touches in the same manner as the first quarter, Kanter would score a few inside baskets for New York as the teams traded baskets to close the half. Bradley Beal drew some love from the crowd when he put a series of moves on Kristaps, finishing with a step-back that had the Knicks star lose his footing a bit. Kyle O’Quinn scored inside for Knicks las basket of the half, Wall would find Beal for an open three as the half came to a close. Brad missed, but Wall chased down the loose ball and hit a fading baseline jump shot to give Washington a one point lead at the half.
Leading the way for Washington were the trio of Wall, Beal, and Gortat. Marcin and John had 14 a piece, while Brad scored 18. Kristaps and Enes led the way for New York, scorng 14 and 12 points respectively.
Everything changed in the third quarter when Washington decided to show just how good they can be on the defensive end when engaged. They seemed to take the task of stopping the Knicks personally and they stared the second half on a 15-3 run. Similar to the first half, Beal got Porzings switched on to him again out on the wing. Like the first bout, Beal went into his bag and pulled out a couple of moves. Porzngis was dancing, Brad then calmly sank a long two. Marcin Gortat continued his hot night on the offensive end, scoring 7 points in the period. That wouldn’t be the end of the Knicks though, after falling down by 17, they increased level of effort. Closing the third quarter wth a 7-1 run. Washington won the quarter 26-14, giving them a 90-77 lead heading into the fourth and final period.
The second unit for Washington started the fourth quarter, they held their own for the first six minutes of the period despite the Knicks drawing fouls to get back into it. With 6:32 left on the game clock, the Wizards lead 105-90. Tomas Satoransky scored all of his 10 points in the quarter, helping that second unit keep New York at bay. Both Porzingis and Michael Beasley were very assertive for the Knicks, the latter showing the type of offensive skill that reminded folks why he was selected second overall n he NBA Draft. Washington’s starters came back in to try and close the door on the Knicks. Washington had to put them away, because they had no intentions on going out quietly.
The Knicks had cut the lead to 10 under the four minute mark, Morris hit a big three to push the lead back to 13, but Beasley responded with a triple of his own. Wall then broke his man down and threw down a vicious dunk. A few minutes later Washington had things wrapped up to keep their winning streak going. Up next Washington travels to Memphis before hosting the “Greek Freak” and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday at Capital One Arena.