The Washington Wizards are finally at full strength again — and it’s showing.
The Wizards defeated the New York Knicks 121-103 at Capital One Arena on Wednesday, the team’s third straight win.
The Wizards (22-16) won their fifth straight home game and eight of nine in D.C. since Dec. 1, and point guard John Wall said one main reason is the team’s starting five all being healthy.
The first unit of Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat has played a total of just 17 games together all season.
“When we move the ball the way we did today, we give ourselves easy shots and easy passing lanes,” said Wall, who scored 25 points and dished out nine assists. “Nobody really cares who’s going to score. We got more assists than turnovers and we ended up winning the game.”
Gortat played his most productive game of the season with 21 points and nine rebounds. He also helped hold Knicks center Enes Kanter, among the league’s top 10 rebounders, to 12 points and just four boards.
“I’m happy we won the game. That’s the most important thing,” Gortat said. “When we have a full, complete starting lineup, the starters can literally do everything.”
The numbers tell the story.
Morris had a double-double with 11 points and a second straight game with 11 rebounds.
Porter only scored eight points, but produced three steals with no fouls.
The Wizards had 27 assists and only 12 turnovers, though the players and head coach Scott Brooks weren’t happy with allowing the Knicks (18-20) to score 63 first-half points.
“I want to say we gave up 16 or 17 layups in that first half,” Brooks said. “It was a layup line. They only had 20 points in the paint in the second half. That was the key. We stayed aggressive on the basketball.”
Beal led all scorers with 27 points, including a nasty crossover and stepback jumper against Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis in the third quarter.
“He didn’t hit the deck, but I knew once I created space … I knocked it down — shot it with confidence,” said Beal, who shot 11-for-14 from the floor and dished out six assists and three steals. “When we continue to move the ball … we are a great team.”
Beal learned after practice Tuesday he had been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the first time. He averaged 26 points, six rebounds and nearly four assists from Dec. 25-31, leading the team to a 3-1 record.
“I always credit my teammates because I wouldn’t be in that situation without them,” he said of the honor.
The Wizards finish the week with a back-to-back set, on the road Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies (12-26) and at home the next night against the Milwaukee Bucks (20-16).