The Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 101-100 in London on Thursday afternoon. Here are five observations from the game...
1. The Wizards' trip to London, England as global ambassadors for the NBA was close to being remembered for a disaster of a game. They came out sluggish and trailed by as many as 19 points to a Knicks team they had won 17 of 19 against entering the day.
But the Wizards once again showed resilience, as they have so often lately despite missing key players due to injury. They locked down on defense to allow only 11 points in the fourth quarter and that helped them overcome a 12-point hole entering the final frame, their largest deficit after three quarters in a win since the 2016-17 season.
Late-game defense proved the difference, but it was a key play in the final seconds that sealed the victory. Down one, Thomas Bryant drew a goaltending on Allonzo Trier with 0.4 seconds left to put the Wizards ahead for good.
The play nearly failed as Bradley Beal slipped around halfcourt. But he got the ball to Bryant, who was cutting through the lane and Trier made a mistake trying to save the game.
The Wizards, of course, will not complain. They now head back to the States having won six of their last nine.
2. Beal ended up with 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals, but this was another game where he started slow and heated up late. He began the game 1-for-7 and shot just 10-for-29 (34.5%) overall.
Beal continues to show an ability to adjust midgame to counter defenses. And much like Sunday's loss against the Raptors, he began by missing outside shots, switched to attacking the rim and then everything else fell into place.
3. Three-point defense has been an issue for the Wizards all season, even after the acquisition of Trevor Ariza, and it was once again a problem in this one. The Knicks, who entered the game ranked 22nd among 30 teams in three-point percentage (34.4), got hot early from long range.
The Knicks made nine threes in the first half, nearly what they average for full games this season (10.2), and on 18 attempts. They finished 12-for-29, good for 41.4 percent. No one killed them more than Luke Kornet, who went 4-for-6.
The Wizards may have underestimated the Knicks' ability to shoot, as some of their early looks were uncontested. By the time the Wizards woke up and made closing out a priority, several Knicks players had found a rhythm and kept knocking them down despite good defense.
The Wizards, though, did hold New York to 3-for-11 from three in the second half.
4. It took until midway through the third quarter, but Troy Brown Jr. again got some run. That is now two straight games where head coach Scott Brooks has turned to Brown for a spark when he needed it.
Brown once again was impressive. He made some nice passes, including a no-look dime to Sam Dekker for an easy slam. He even had his first career poster-dunk:
Much of the criticism from fans and others who didn't like the Wizards taking Brown at 15th overall centered around his perceived lack of athleticism and low ceiling on offense. But he can get up high enough to make plays like that.
5. This game was always going to have extra importance for the players from Europe like Tomas Satoransky and Ian Mahinmi, who each had a host of friends and family in attendance. Satoransky, in particular, rose to the occasion.
The Wizards guard had one of his most efficient games of the season. He had 14 points in 30 minutes on 6-for-8 from the field. He dished five assists and added two steals and a block.
The Knicks had major trouble staying in front of Satoransky, who drove into the lane with ease. He made a series of plays in the lane including a putback slam and a nice up-and-under move around Kevin Knox. It was a post move you don't often see from guards, the type of three-step combination Ben Simmons has made a living off of.
Satoransky has a lot of potential in posting up smaller guards. He's 6-foot-7 and has nice touch around the rim. That move may have been a glimpse of more to come as Satoransky continues to develop his offensive game.
Satoransky, though, didn't play much down the stretch. As the Wizards gained momentum, especially on defense, Brooks went away from Satoransky to roll with what was working.
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