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Wizards beat Knicks, push winning streak at 'The Garden' to nine
The Wizards have the Knicks’ number at Madison Square Garden. Time will tell if Monday’s trip to the world’s most famous arena will be the spark of a road winning streak as Washington is at the beginning of a four-game trip. For at least a night, the Wizards started to look like the team they saw themselves as at the outset of the season. Defense, fast break offense and timely 3-point shooting all came together as Bradley Beal, John Wall and co. toppled the Knicks, 110-107. It was the Wizards' ninth straight win as a visitor in New York.
Both teams entered the night struggling in first quarters, and while the Knicks had the upper hand early with leads as high as 11 in the opening frame Monday, the Wizards saved their best for the second half. Bradley Beal’s 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists led Washington to victory, while fellow All-Star John Wall played his usual role as the offensive motor with 18 points and 15 assists. Simply, the win was an illustration of how the Wizards can play when all of their strengths come together.
“We just came out and did better defensively,” said John Wall postgame. “We were more aggressive and not giving them open looks. We pushed the pace and made open shots. We got defensive stops and that’s what we needed to do.”
In the early going, it was largely Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. (21 points, career-high five 3-pointers) that kept the Wizards afloat while the Knicks continued the hot shooting that had gotten them a home win over Milwaukee over the weekend. The Wizards’ duo combined for 28 in the first half as Washington shot 44.4% to New York’s 52.3% going into the break. Markieff Morris (16 points, seven rebounds) was also a steadying force in the early going. The Knicks held a nine-point lead after two.
The old ‘tale of two halves’ adage is the perfect way to describe Monday’s affair, as the second half was all Wizards. Otto Porter Jr. (15 points on the night) and Beal scored eight apiece in a third quarter that featured a 28-8 Washington outburst to open the period. In the third, the Wizards went on to outscore New York 34-19, using six Knicks turnovers to jumpstart the offense and take an 11-point lead at the 3:33 mark. The run was punctuated by four dunks and three 3-pointers as the Wizards stole the bright stage with pace and a hint of the swagger that’s made them successful in years past.
”That second half, that defense in the third quarter, we were good,” said head coach Scott Brooks. “We were swarming the basketball, and that’s what we’ve wanted to do. We’ve changed our defense the last three or four games. Our bigs are doing a good job and our guards are pursuing. We just have to continue to do it.”
In the fourth, Washington extended its lead to as many as 16 points with a 7-0 run in the middle of the frame. It would need every point, as the Knicks stormed back with a 10-0 run of their own in the final three minutes that cut their deficit to just three points with 35 seconds remaining. Wall saved the Wizards from a collapse with a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to shut the door on a last-second New York comeback.
Next on the Wizards’ road trip will be a stop in Atlanta on Wednesday to take on the Hawks. Tipoff is set for 7:30 P.M. ET.