Jumping out to a 33-20 lead with 3:29 left in the 1st, the Knicks looked like they were on their way to an easy victory against a decimated Wizards squad. Subpar energy and a lack of defense plagued the Knicks after this. Washington scored 31+ points in the first three quarters and 27 in the 4th. Washington grew their lead to 17 points with just 4:40 remaining in the game. The Knicks finally woke up and went on a 16-2 run. Down by 3 with 48.1 seconds left, the Knicks forced Washington to commit a shot clock violation. Coming out of a timeout with 24.1 seconds left, Elfrid Payton missed a step-back, three-pointer, and the Knicks eventually lost.
Washington only had two starters score double-digits in points, Bradley Beal (30) and Ish Smith (17). They got fantastic play from three, young, bench players. Troy Brown Jr. posted 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists, Gary Payton II tallied 10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 steals (in his first game back from the G League), and Anzejs Pasecniks scored 14 points in just 20 minutes.
Julius Randle had an unbelievable performance for the Knicks, scoring 35 points. RJ Barrett (18 points) and Damyean Dotson (19 points) both had nice games too. Elfrid Payton (12 assists and 7 rebounds) and Mitchell Robinson (13 rebounds and 6 blocks) contributed great energy and defense.
Why The Knicks Lost
Fouling, rebounding, and energy cost the Knicks this game. New York committed 25 fouls, surrendering 30 free throw attempts. The Wizards outrebounded the Knicks by a ridiculous 20 rebounds (69-49). Washington deflected 19 passes and recovered 19 loose balls. New York only recorded 13 deflections and recovered 7 loose balls. The Wizards also picked up 12 steals compared to the Knicks 4. Effort and energy, especially on the defensive end, plagued the Knicks in this game.
Taking a game for granted is never a beneficial move, professionally. The Knicks clearly took the Wizards lightly and it cost them big time. Every win in the NBA is crucial (especially for the Knicks) and they must be earned. This type of mental lapse and lack of effort is inexcusable. Steve Mills and Scott Perry will be looking to make changes to the roster to help the Knicks talent issues. In the meantime, Mike Miller and his coaches need to push the players to play harder for all 48 minutes and take pride in their defense. The Knicks next game is against their rival, the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are without their two stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. A poor performance from the Knicks in this one could lead to the panic button being hit and the fire sale beginning.