Recap: Wizards drop preseason matchup with Knicks Saturday night
FINAL: Wizards 99 | Knicks 117
Wizards: Montrezl Harrell (18), Bradley Beal (14), Spencer Dinwiddie (13)
Knicks: RJ Barrett (18), Derrick Rose (15), Evan Fournier (14)
The Wizards were defeated by the Knicks 117-99 on Saturday night at Capital One Arena in both teams’ second preseason game. Montrezl Harrell led the way for Washington with a double-double, totaling 18 points and 10 rebounds. RJ Barrett led New York with 18 points of his own, including four 3-pointers.
The Wizards got on the board first with an opening-possession 3-pointer from Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished the night with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists, but the Knicks answered quickly. 35 first-quarter points and four 3-pointers from Kevin Knox in the second quarter extended the New York lead to 13 with 7:25 left in the half. Three minutes later, with the Wizards still down 13, Beal knocked down a triple of his own to start a 12-2 Washington run, capped by a difficult and-one layup to cut the New York lead to 56-53 in the final minute of the second quarter.
New York’s red-hot shooting continued in the second half. After a Dinwiddie free throw gave the Wizards a one-point lead with 10 minutes left in the third quarter, the Knicks went on a 23-4 run over the next 5:33 to take an 82-64 lead, setting the tone for a second half in which they made 12 threes. As New York found its rhythm from deep, Washington struggled to get going, shooting just 1-15 (.067) from 3-point range after halftime. Despite a strong second-half performance from Harrell (nine points and six rebounds), Washington was unable to overcome the New York lead.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Unseld Jr. shortens rotation for preseason game #2
After the entire roster saw game action during the team’s preseason opener in Houston, Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. shrunk the rotation on Saturday night. Nine players saw double-digit minutes against the Knicks, led by Beal, Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma, who each played at least 22. Unseld Jr. said pregame he wanted to give the primary group plenty of opportunity to work with one another leading up to the start of the regular season.
“(The preseason) is a slow build-up, but with only four games, we have to expedite that a bit just to make sure our top 9-10 guys are playing the vast majority of the minutes, but also playing in the fourth quarter,” Unseld Jr. said pregame. “You don’t want to wait until opening night.”
Dinwiddie and Beal did most of their work early, each playing over nine minutes in the first quarter and a combined 34 in the first half. Beal did a little bit of everything for the Wizards adding four rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block to go along with his 14 points.
Avdija makes first on-court appearance since April injury
In his first game since a fractured fibular ended his 2020-21 season early, Deni Avdija finished with four points, three rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes. Avdija subbed into the game for the first time with 5:46 left in the first quarter and scored his first points of the night on a transition layup off an assist from Raul Neto. Avdija’s highlight of the night came with just a few minutes left in the first half, putting home a one-hand dunk in the fast break, drawing a noticeable ovation from the Wizards fans in attendance.
“I’m getting there,” Avdija said postgame. “The coaches do a great job of getting me in, getting me rhythm. Those minutes were very important to me to feel how it feels to play with my teammates on the court. To feel the atmosphere again and just to feel what it is to play basketball…Six months is a long time not touching a basketball.”
Knicks’ triples make the difference
The most notable box score imbalance on Saturday was each team’s 3-point shooting. From the opening tip, the Knicks were in rhythm from 3-point range, hitting 6-11 (.545) in the first quarter. As a team, New York shot 24-52 (.462) from beyond the arc, led by Barrett, Kevin Knox, Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickly, who each hit at least three 3-pointers. On the flip side, Washington finished just 5-31 (.161) from deep.
“We didn’t make shots, but we generated the right types of shots,” Unseld Jr. said postgame. “We’ll make those. I’m not worried about that. We played the right way and I think that’s something we can be happy about.”