Wizards Dropped by Knicks for Third Straight Loss

New York Knicks small forward Tim Hardaway Jr. attempts a layup during the Knicks' 101-97 win over the Washington Wizards at Capitol One Arena in D.C. on March 25. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
New York Knicks small forward Tim Hardaway Jr. attempts a layup during the Knicks' 101-97 win over the Washington Wizards at Capitol One Arena in D.C. on March 25. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

With only nine games left in the regular season, Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said there’s one thing the team needs heading into the playoffs: urgency.

They showed some at times Sunday against the woeful New York Knicks, but couldn’t sustain it for the full 48 minutes, and the result was a 101-97 loss at home, the team’s third straight defeat as the postseason looms.

The Wizards (40-33) held the Knicks to just 19 points in the first quarter, but allowed 42 in the second quarter.

New York ranks in the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency, compared to Washington, which ranks ninth. However, both teams scored fewer than 20 points in the third quarter.

The loss keeps the Wizards as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings, just a one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. If the playoffs ended today, Washington would face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

“We’re struggling [to score] the ball right now,” Brooks said. “We’re missing a lot of easy shots – layups, tip-ins, dunks. Those are the [buckets] you have to make.”

Coming into Sunday’s contest, the Wizards had won 15 of the past 16 games against the Knicks.

The team statistics were as close as the final score suggested. Both teams each committed 14 turnovers, made 10 steals and hit six 3-pointers. The Wizards grabbed 46 total rebounds, just two more than the Knicks with 44.

New York (27-47) went 41-for-88 from the floor at nearly 47 percent. Washington went 37 of 87, at 42.5 percent.

The Wizards had possession with a 95-94 lead and less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, but forward Kelly Oubre Jr. missed an ill-advised 3-pointer, then fouled former Wizards guard Trey Burke at the other end for a three-point play with 35 seconds left, and the Knicks wouldn’t trail again.

“Yeah, we’ve had a few of those [teaching moments],” Brooks said. “It’s time to pick up those moments and internalize them. …We can’t foul in that situation. We can’t do it.”

Wizards guard Bradley Beal defended Oubre’s decision to shoot the 3-pointer.

“He was open,” said Beal, who led the Wizards with 14 points but shot just 5 of 17 from the field. “If he made it, we would have been like, ‘Aww, yeah, that’s a great shot.’ Because he missed it, we are going to try and analyze one way or another. It’s not his fault that we lost the game.”

Burke, who played for Washington last season, had a game-high 19 points along with three assists in his first start since exactly three years ago on March 25, 2015, when he played with the Utah Jazz.

“I try not to be emotional about it,” he said of his return. “Coming back here [and] playing with those guys all last year, you want to do good. You want to win the game. We won the game and that’s the biggest thing.”

Washington will complete its three-game home stand Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs, which defeated the Wizards 98-90 Wednesday.

Happy 40th Anniversary

The Wizards organization also paid homage at halftime to the 1978 Bullets championship squad. Fans also received a light-blue commemorative T-shirt.

Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, who was represented by wife Connie at the ceremony, recorded a video message for the ceremony.

“I am so proud of the accomplishments and I am proud of the way we came together to become NBA champions,” he said. “I will forever be grateful of being a Washington Bullet.”

  • New York Knicks small forward Tim Hardaway Jr. attempts a layup during the Knicks' 101-97 win over the Washington Wizards at Capitol One Arena in D.C. on March 25. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
    New York Knicks small forward Tim Hardaway Jr. attempts a layup during the Knicks' 101-97 win over the Washington Wizards at Capitol One Arena in D.C. on March 25. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

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About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 545 Articles
I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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