• Sun. May 26th, 2024

New York was the scene for Tuesday night’s contest featuring the Knicks and the Washington Wizards. Both the Wizards and the Knicks were coming into the game with matching 2 game win streaks as well as 2-1 records. Washington’s lone loss was their opener against the Miami Heat, and the Knicks sole loss coming at the hands of the Chicago Bulls. Washington would be without John Wall’s backcourt running mate Bradley Beal who is dealing with a wrist injury. The Knicks are still without Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, both thought to be starters upon their return.

The pace of this game early on was slow and very sloppy. Both teams struggled from the field, and were very careless with the basketball. The halftime score represented the struggles from both sides. Washington trailed the Knicks 40-45. But the 2nd half would be a completely different story for the Wizards. They jumped out of the gate with a 14-0 run, as the Knicks came out of halftime very flat. They never really were able to withstand the barrage that the Wizards hit them with. Washington outscored New York 32-15 in the 3rd quarter, which proved to be one of the deciding factors towards a 98-83 Wizards victory.

The “Bench Mob”, as dubbed by John Wall, showed up tremendously for the Wizards. 3 players off the bench (Andre Miller, Drew Gooden, and Kevin Seraphin) had double digit scoring outputs. Miller was tantalizing the Knicks with his guard post play, and his relentless driving into the paint. He finished with 12 points, 3 assists and a steal in just 17 minutes off the bench. Seraphin led all bench scorers with 15 points, and also adding 2 rebounds in 22 minutes. He did a great job of taking Jason Smith and Cole Aldrich to school on the block all night. The Knicks did have 5 scorers off their bench, but none in double figures or posing as a consistent threat which hindered the Knicks greatly.

John Wall was getting into the paint at will which is a cause of concern for New York moving forward. He was pushing the ball on makes and misses, and really exposed the transition defense for the Knicks. Wall finished with 11 points and 7 assists, and 2 steals as well. He set the tone with the defensive pressure against the Knicks, as the Wizards did a great job denying entry passes. The Knicks finished the game with 18 turnovers, and that always will be a recipe for a defeat in this league. Paul Pierce donned a Wizards uniform in the Garden for the first time, but played like he was still with the Celtics. He had 17 points on 50% (5-10) shooting from the field. Pierce rounded out his stat sheet adding 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. Knicks fans know that Pierce loves to beat the Knicks, and with his facial expressions throughout the game, last night was no different.

Credit: monumentalnetwork.com ... Wall set the tone defensively for the Wizards
Credit: monumentalnetwork.com … Wall set the tone defensively for the Wizards

Carmelo Anthony really struggled to get into any offensive rhythm. He had just 18 points on 8 for 23 shooting, and showed frustration throughout the game. Iman Shumpert lead the Knicks in scoring with 19 points, adding 4 rebounds and a perfect 4-4 from downtown. He has been a bright spot for the inconsistent Knicks. Shumpert has now scored in double digits (12,15,19) in each of his last three games, and has shot 70% from the three point line this season. If the Knicks are going to get back on track, they will need Shumpert to keep the productivity up, and stay healthy.

Stoudemire had a disappointing night offensively, scoring just 6 points in a starting role. He replaced Quincy Acy who had started the past two games. Surprisingly, Acy picked up a DNP (did not play – coach’s decision). This was following a decent performance in his previous starts, but could have been partly due to his lack of offense and the Knicks need for it since they were down big in the 2nd half. Jason Smith has been really important to the Knicks coming off the bench. He has been able to consistently hit the mid range jumper, and stretch the floor. He added 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a host of hustle plays to help his team in a losing effort.

The Knicks will need to clean up the turnovers and work on their transition and perimeter defense. These problems were exposed by the Wizards, as well as the inconsistent play of the bench. Aside from Shumpert, no one has really stepped forward to be that No.2 or No.3 scorer the Knicks need. Last night was the first time this season we saw Anthony feel the pressure of the stagnant offense. The Knicks will have little time to correct the errors, as they travel to Detroit today for the first of a three game road trip.

Barry Holmes/Pure Sports NY

By Barry Holmes

Graduate of Millersville University, with a BS in Communications focused in Broadcast. Senior Writer & Social Media Manager for PureSportsNY.

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