The Wizards had no answer for Carmelo Anthony and that was apparent early. The Wizards trusted Otto Porter early to guard Anthony but he scorched him for 10 points in the first quarter and 18 for the half shooting a very efficient 6-8 from the field.
Drew Gooden and Ramon Sessions provided a nice spark off the bench for the Wizards. Gooden scored nine points off the bench in the first half, including two put back lay-ins and per usual, Ramon Sessions continued to thrive in transition keeping the Knicks on their heels.
Even though the reserves scored 24 points in the first half, that wouldn’t offset the hot shooting from Carmelo Anthony as the Wizards were down 59-56 at halftime.
Carmelo Anthony continued his hot shooting knocking down his first two three-pointers of the second half as the Knicks stretched the lead to nine, 69-60 at the 7:10 mark. The Wizards looked like a team coming off the second game of a back to back as there was very little energy to start the second half.
On a positive note, Bradley Beal woke up in the second half to the tune of 22 points on 8-16 shooting after going just 1-7 in the first half. Beal was very aggressive in the second half and knocked down a clutch three-pointer as time expired in the third quarter as the Wizards led 90-87.
The lead seesawed back and forth for the entire fourth quarter. Beal had another hot fourth quarter in back to back nights, this time scoring 11 of the Wizards’ 20 points in the fourth quarter.
It wouldn’t be enough as Carmelo Anthony and some key baskets late from Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway enabled the Knicks to pull away and win this one 117-110.
Wizards continue to get to the line: In back to back nights, the Wizards got to the line 20 times in the first half, this time knocking down just 15. Many of these free throw attempts were from the Wizards up-tempo speed with Wall and Sessions drawing contact in transition. The Wizards went 26-32 from the charity stripe for the game; a very efficient 81 percent.
The Knicks bench outplayed the Wiz bench: The Wizards bench didn’t play bad tonight, the Knicks’ bench just played better. The Knicks bench outscored the Wizards’ 50-32 and opted to keep some of their reserves in down the stretch. Drew Gooden and Nene combined for 19 points but were horrific on the defensive end. Nene fouled out in just 18 minutes whereas Drew Gooden was often gambling for steals that weren’t there.
The Wizards defense is very much a work in progress: The Wizards gave up 117 points tonight after giving up 113 the night before. That’s just bad. What happened to the Wizards’ top-5 defense we were used to seeing last year? Carmelo Anthony torched the Wiz for 37 points. Neither Porter nor Dudley had an answer for Melo tonight. It was very surprising that the Wizards did not double team Carmelo and force other players to beat them.
In addition, the Wizards’ big men did not play well on the defensive end. Both Gortat and Nene were in foul trouble the entire night which forced Randy Wittman to put DeJuan Blair in. That didn’t go well either.
The Wizards must clean things up defensively before the Spurs come to town Wednesday night.