The chicken soup the Wizards were in need of curing their sickness following an unspeakable loss to the Philadelphia 76ers turned out to be the New York Knicks, and they gained a 119-112 victory on Thursday at Verizon Center.
John Wall overcame a slow start on 1-for-6 shooting to post a double-double (23 points, 11 assists) in restricted minutes in the second game of a back-to-back (31). In his return after missing three games with a thigh strain, Bradley Beal (18 points, five assists) played 29 minutes. Otto Porter (21 points) did the job on both ends and Marcin Gortat (16 points, eight rebounds) was effective in the pick-and-roll.
Marcus Thornton (13 points) led a bench that combined to score 31 points.
Derrick Rose (27 points) led the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony (19 points) was 1-for-8 on three-point attempts.
The Wizards (3-8) blew this game open in the third quarter with a 35-23 outburst to pull away after leading 52-42 at halftime.
- The Knicks made a late run behind Brandon Jennings (17 points, 10 assists) but coach Scott Brooks went back to Wall who made consecutive baskets to hold off the charge. And Wall made sure to remind Jennings of his behavior in a preseason game when he taunted free agent Casper Ware by excessively clapping in his face to taunt him.
- Anthony had his season-high (37) at Verizon last season, where he bullied Porter in the mid-post and couldn’t miss. Anthony had 10 points in the first half but was just 3 of 8 shooting, including 0-for-3 on threes.Through three quarters, he was 0-for-6 from deep. Porter not only did a better job of handling his strength but disrupting his jumper before he got the ball high to release. Porter's ability to defend him one-on-one allowed the Wizards to not take risks defensively.
- The pick-and-roll coverage between Rose and Joakim Noah as no match for Wall-Gortat. Wall not only got deep into the lane, he had all options open and usually that meant laying it off for his big to finish. He had eight of his assists by halftime. Having Beal sink into the weakside corner gave him options if Noah, or whichever big the Knicks had in the middle, cracked down on the roll man. And when Gortat had Porzingis on his hip in the post, he attacked him by establishing deeper position in the paint and turning into him for the shot. That got Gortat going early.
- Markieff Morris’ value covering stretch fours showed again. He didn’t have the best game offensively (4-for-11, eight points), but he bothered the 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis enough to force him into tough shots. His 16 points were a far cry from the 35 Porzingis posted in the previous game. Morris didn't give him the real estate he wanted pre-catch and denied him his sweet spots on the floor. Porzingis only scored eight through three quarters as the Wizards were able to lead by as much as 27 points.
- After starting Wednesday, Sheldon McClellan fell completely out of the rotation. So did Trey Burke. Brooks kept his rotation to eight and only went to Jason Smith when Gortat picked up his third foul late in the second quarter. Smith had his best game, however, making hs only two shots and grabbing three rebounds in 11 minutes. If Smith can provide this (and no turnovers) in spot duty, it'll be more than enough especially when Ian Mahinmi returns.
- Andrew Nicholson has been out of the rotation also, but he had a favorable matchup when the Knicks went to Willy Hernangomez in the middle. Nicholson played as the five and was able to get position and made 1 of 2 shots. Hernangomez only played 10 minutes, so Nicholson logged all six of his in the first half.