The Wizards have struggled in the final seconds of their games of late. That was with Bradley Beal out of the lineup. Tonight, Beal drove to the hoop and hit a layup with six seconds remaining to give the Wizards a 102-101 victory. The Knicks had one last possession after the Beal hoop and inexplicably did not take one of their three remaining timeouts, instead electing to allow Anthony to take the ball the length of the court where he missed a three at the buzzer. Beal's return to the lineup was certainly an electric one, as he finished with 21 points, scoring 14 of those in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards had a double-digit halftime lead and led by as many as 15 in the third quarter before the Knicks went on a 21-4 run to take the lead. The Knicks seemingly could not miss in the third quarter, at one point getting points on seven out of eight possessions. The fourth quarter was a back and forth affair down to the wire, with the Wiz leading by as many as seven but the Knicks battled back again, taking a four point lead on JR Smith's fifth three with just over two minutes to play. That was when Beal got really hot though, scoring the Wizards' final eight points, including a step back 26 footer as the shot clock expired to tie the game at 100. After Udrih hit 1 of 2 free throws, Beal went to work on the offensive end, getting the game winning bucket.
In the game, the Wizards' shot 54% from the field and the Knicks just 41.8%. The Wizards also outrebounded the Knicks 41-35. The primary thing that kept the Knicks in the game was the Wizards turning the ball over 19 times. Martell Webster was the other star for the Wizards, scoring 30 points off the bench on 9/13 shooting including 6/8 from long distance. As a team, the Wizards were 11/18 from three. John Wall really carried the Wizards in the first half where he had 19 points, and finished with 20 points and eight assists. - Jacob Raim
At the break, the Wizards, led by John Wall's 19 points, hold a 53-42 lead over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Wizards are looking to end a ten game losing streak at the Garden. The Knicks offense seemed to be in disarray, with really only Anthony and Hardaway Jr. finding much success. As a team, the Knicks shot just 31.9% from the field while the Wizards were at 55.6%. Frankly, the only reason the Wizards lead is not even larger is that the Wizards turned it over 13 times. The Wizards actually shot the ball 10 less times than the Knicks in the half but still grabbed a double digit lead. Other than those turnovers, the Wizards completely controlled the half. They outrebounded the Knicks 29-17 and shot 7/10 from beyond the arc (compared to the Knicks' 4/14). John Wall was simply dialed in going for 19 points on 7/12 shooting and chipping in five assists and four boards. The Wizards were also sparked by Bradley Beal's return to the lineup and he did not look any the worse for wear, grabbing seven points on 3/5 shooting and four rebounds. Finally Martell Webster was on fire off the bench, scoring 12 points on 4/6 shooting, all from beyond the arc. - Jacob Raim
The big news from pregame is around Bradley Beal and we've just learned that not only will he play tonight but he will in fact start at the SG spot. Martell Webster will move to the bench as Wall, Ariza, Booker and Gortat round out the starting five.
Randy Wittman did say that Beal's minutes would likely be limited tonight, but would not go into detail about how many that may be. In the past, Witt has said that it's easier to gauge a guys minutes off the bench, so it's interesting to see him in the starting lineup. The fact that he's starting makes me believe he'll play between 25-30 minutes, with Martell Webster playing a key role as the sixth man.
Witt also said that Nene is getting close to a return and that he hopes he'll be back on Wednesday in Brooklyn. That's encouraging news and the Wiz may finally be getting their full squad back together.
The Wiz will look to snap a 10-game losing streak here at MSG that dates back to 2006 with a win tonight.
Live Chat kicks off at 7:30 from MSG.
Hello from New York City.
This is my second straight day at MSG as I came in yesterday to see my alma mater Syracuse take on St. Johns here at the Garden (Syracuse prevailed).
Today the stage moves from the college game to the pros as the Wizards look to snap their four-game skid against another Cuse guy, Carmelo Anthony and his New York Knicks.
The last time the Wizards won here at MSG? I had yet to set foot on the Syracuse campus as I was a senior in high school. The date was December 6th, 2006 when the Wizards left the Garden with a 113-102 victory. The Knicks have won 10 straight over the Wizards since that day and the last few have not been close. Last year, the Wiz lost by 21 points twice here in New York.
So why will the Wizards win tonight?
For one, the Wizards beat these Knicks, 98-89, back on November 23rd at Verizon Center. The Knicks have really struggled in the first part of the season and enter tonight's game with a 7-16 record. They have won four of their last seven after a nine game losing streak, but also suffered their third worst home-loss in franchise history last Sunday to the Celtics. They are still without the reigning defensive player of the year, Tyson Chandler and are having problems on the defensive side without him.
The Wizards may get an early Christmas gift as Bradley Beal was a participant in morning shootaround and said afterwards that if he feels good tonight he may give it a go tonight. There's no official word if he'll play or if he'll start, but even if he can give the team 20-25 minutes, that would give the Wizards a huge lift. Beal has missed the last nine games with a stress injury in his right fibula. The Wizards are 4-5 without him in the lineup. He is their leading scorer, averaging 20.6 ppg.
There is nothing new on Nene. He's still questionable with foot tendinitis.
We'll be back with more before the game later tonight.