The Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 118-113 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Major comeback: For two quarters on Wednesday night it looked like the Wizards had already checked out for the All-Star break with one eye on their respective planned vacations. At halftime they trailed by 21 points to a New York Knicks team that entered the matchup having lost 20 of their previous 26 games.
But the Wizards didn't let up, they didn't stop fighting with a long break just two quarters away. No, they mounted the biggest comeback in the 2017-18 NBA season so far.
The Wizards roared back from down 27 points to snatch a victory from the Knicks and enter the All-Star break having won seven of their last nine games since John Wall got injured. Since Wall went down, the Wizards have shown exceptional resolve and this win was a great example of that.
Bradley Beal was the key to all of it with 36 points, seven assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Ian Mahinmi also had a huge night with a season-high 17 points off the bench to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Tomas Satoransky was pivotal with a career-high 11 assists and three blocks.
The Wizards enter the break 33-24, a 47-win pace. They will take that given all that went down in the first half of the season.
Big third quarter: The Wizards must have heard some halftime speech - or rant - from head coach Scott Brooks because a different team emerged in the third quarter. After allowing 72 points through the first two frames, the Wizards outscored the Knicks 39-15 in the third.
Beal led the charge with 12 points in the third quarter. Markieff Morris had nine of his 13 points and four rebounds. Marcin Gortat had six points and five rebounds in the third.
Some of the third quarter numbers are just absurd. The Wizards shot 81 percent from the field compared to just 20.8 percent for the Knicks. The Wizards outrebounded New York 19-2 in the frame.
The Wizards were a sleeping giant on Wednesday and once the Knicks woke them up, it was Washington's game to lose.
Tomas Satoransky threads the needle. We have ourselves a game, D.C. Family! pic.twitter.com/HSWQ5ISDmJ— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) February 15, 2018
Hardaway was a problem: The biggest reason why the Wizards went down so big in the first half is because they had no answers for Knicks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. He is the team's leading scorer with Kristaps Porzingis now done for the season and, man, was he good in this one.
Hardaway was on fire from the opening tip with 17 points in the first quarter and 32 by halftime on 12-for-14 from the field and 5-for-6 from three. Beal guarded him for much of the first half, but he was getting killed on pick-and-rolls as the Wizards team defense continued to break down. Even when they were all over him, he knocked down shots through tight windows.
The Wizards finally had some success against him in the second half. They held him to 2-for-10 from the field and just five points. Still, he finished one short of a career-high with 37 points on the night.
Their defense on Hardaway in the first half was a disaster, but they deserve credit for ultimately figuring him out. If they didn't, they would have had no chance of winning this one.
Injuries are mounting: The Wizards were not playing at anything close to full strength. Already without Wall, they were also missing backup point guard Tim Frazier, who is sidelined following the nasal fracture surgery he had on Sunday. That left Washington with one healthy point guard.
The Wizards were also without Jason Smith, who was sick. It was so dire they called up their two-way rookie Devin Robinson just because they needed players. Still, they had enough to win.
Beal made history: Beal became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 800 career threes with his second make from long range on Wednesday night. It came at a good time as Beal is set for the All-Star three-point competition on Saturday night. He continues to establish himself as one of the best three-point shooters of this generation and a three-point contest crown would look nice on his résumé.
Up next: The Wizards are off for a while for the All-Star break. They don't play for the next seven days before returning to action on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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