Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow/AP Photo
Bradley Beal helps Wizards continue domination at Madison Square Garden
If the Washington Wizards were allowed to play all 82 games at Madison Square Garden, the Wizards would probably finish the season 82-0. Again, the Wizards deliver a blow to the Knicks in the world’s most famous arena. Led by “Headband” Bradley Beal’s 27 points, the Wizards defeated the Knicks 110-107. This loss marks the ninth straight time the Knicks couldn’t overcome the Wizards at home.
Besides Beal adding to the list of players who have had remarkable performances rocking the almighty headband, the player who made the difference for the Wizards was Kelly Oubre. So far, Oubre has struggled this season.
Kelly Oubre was the X-Factor for the Wizards
Before tonight’s game, Oubre was averaging around 11.5 points per game and shooting under 40% from the field and under 30% from deep. Against the Knicks, Oubre had an efficient offensive explosion. He scored 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but what was most impressive about his performance was his shooting from three. Steam could be seen releasing from Oubre’s hands because he could barely miss a shot from the land of plenty. He knocked down five of his six three-point attempts, which is shocking for a player who could barely hit the side of a barn from deep all season.
Knicks controlled the game in the first half
After experiencing the high of defeating the Milwaukee Bucks, the Knicks carried that momentum early into the game. Twice, the Knicks held 11-point leads in the first half, and at halftime, the Knicks led 61-52. Throughout the first half, the Knicks controlled the game and staved off any Wizards’ run to retake the lead. Unfortunately, the Knicks defense collapsed in the third quarter, and the Wizards used their magic to shift the momentum in their favor.
Wizards dominated the third quarter
Beal opened up the third with a three-pointer to propel the Wizards’ 15-4 run to retake the lead. Otto Porter Jr. found his stroke from deep and nailed two threes, including the three which gave the Wizards a 67-65 advantage. Later, Beal made another three to push the Wizards lead to five, and on the following Wizards’ possession, John Wall hooked up with Beal for the alley-oop slam to give the Wizards a 72-65 lead. At this point, the Knicks were unraveling.
Washington continued to pile on the pressure, and Wall’s emphatic dunk with 3:33 remaining pushed the Wizards lead to 11, 80-69. After Wall’s slam, the Wizards were playing with rejuvenated energy. With 4:24 remaining in the fourth, Wall nailed a midrange jumper to push the Wizards lead to sixteen. In the past, the Knicks would wave the white flag and proclaim defeat, but not David Fizdale’s Knicks.
John Wall halts late Knicks comeback
Led by Emmanuel Mudiay and Damyean Dotson, the Knicks went on a 12-0 run to cut into the Wizards lead. Dotson continues to nail timely baskets. He made two threes which quickly cut into the Wizards lead, and Mudiay made a layup off a feed from Kevin Knox and two clutch free throws.
Following Mudiay’s free throws, Noah Vonleh glided through the air like George Gervin and made a finger roll. Vonleh’s basket brought the Knicks within three, 107-104, with 35.1 seconds remaining. The Garden crowd could feel another spirited Knicks comeback on the horizon, but Wall put that feeling to rest with a clutch three to guarantee a Wizards victory.
New York Knicks and Washington Wizards stats
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 20 points. Dotson had a productive game off the bench as usual. He finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Mudiay continues to produce this season. He had 16 points and 4 assists. Enes Kanter notched another double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Vonleh also contributed with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Beal and Oubre led the way for the Wizards, but Wall also played an excellent game. Wall played the point guard role to perfection. He scored when he needed to (18 points), and he set up his teammates throughout the game (15 assists). Markieff Morris added 18 points, and Porter Jr. finished with 15 points.
The Knicks had a bit of a setback against the Wizards. Luckily, the players will be able to redeem themselves on Thursday when they take on the Boston Celtics on the road.