The season sweep of the New York Knicks is complete as the Wizards held on 106-103 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday to keep themselves on pace for a 50-win season and in the hunt for the No. 3 seed in the East.
Bradley Beal (game-high 25 points) broke a 101 tie in the final minute with a three-pointer and two free throws. John Wall (24 points, eight assists) helped the Wizards (48-31) get out to early double-digit leads but they never could create enough separation to feel comfortable until the final whistle. Marcin Gortat (16 points) and Kelly Oubre (13 points, five rebounds, two blocks) also were key contributors.
The Knicks (30-49) took an early lead but an 18-3 run by Washington flipped the momentum. Carmelo Anthony (23 points) led them followed by Justin Holiday (16 points).
Anthony's offensive spurt, a 6-0 run, tied the score until Beal closed. He had a chance to tie at the buzzer with a three that misfired.
The Wizards won the season series 4-0.
--Offensive rebounding kept the Knicks close in the first half when they trimmed what had been a 12-point deficit to 53-51. They ended with a 20-9 edge on the offensive glass, and a 49-39 edge overall. Their rebounding negated the Wizards' solid intial defense to force misses. Otto Porter (nine rebounds) led the Wizards in that category but only played 22 minutes.
--Brandon Jennings, who gained his release from the Knicks so he could join a playoff team, didn’t have any real impact on the outcome until he ended a 7-0 run midway through the fourth. He pulled up from three-point range to push the lead to 92-85. It was his only make in five attempts. Balance on Jennings' jumpers remain a problem as he tends to fade immediately which causes them to be short.
--Soreness to the foot and ankle has lingered with Markieff Morris since early in the season and he missed his fifth game of the season because of it. It appears that his ‘rest” days are more precautionary than anything and come against opponents the Wizards feel they can beat without him. Jason Smith (five points, six rebounds) started for him but was in foul trouble midway through the third quarter. The Wizards went to smaller lineups anyway. Oubre played 28 minutes and Bojan Bogdanvoic (eight points, six rebounds) played 31.
--The Wizards continue to go into Gortat early in games. They started with a post-up for him against Marshall Plumlee that resulted in a turnaround jumper and he made another bucket going across the paint against the undersized big. Gortat made all seven of his shot attempts, his most field goals since Feb. 10 when he shot 7-for-12 vs. Indiana.
--For some reason, the Knicks kept trusting their defensive concepts that had their five man, Willie Hernangomez, switching onto guards in the pick-and-roll. It created mismatches with him vs. Wall and Beal. Down the stretch, Wall got to the rim for a layup and a dunk. Beal got the switch, gave up the ball and got it back for a three. The switch never worked and the Knicks never considered changing it.
--Oubre's length bothered the Knicks in the fourth. Though Sasha Vujacic (10 points) got hot, he was baited into a drive by the second-year forward and had his shot obliterated at the rim. Oubre then took the assignment on Anthony at the end of the game. He fouled him and sent him to the line for two free throws that tied the score at 103 with 32.3 seconds left but they'd never trail. After Beal's three, Oubre defended Anthony's final attempt with his 7-2 wingspan and the jumper didn't come close to going in.