For the second time this year, Bradley Beal played the hero in New York. Beal hit a midrange jumper with 22 seconds to go and the Wizards got a stop on the Knicks final possession to pull out the 90-89 win at Madison Square Garden. The win gave the Wizards the 3-0 season series sweep of the Knicks, with two of those wins coming at MSG. It was a playoff type game, back and forth for the entire fourth quarter and the Wizards drew the last blood. The Wizards shot the ball better than the Knicks, but the Knicks three point shooting and particularly JR Smith kept them in the game. The Knicks were 14/31 from three, with JR Smith accounting for eight of those. It didn't matter if he was open or closed out, JR Smith was simply on fire, but it just was not quite enough. For the Wizards, the key was in Trevor Ariza's shutdown D on Carmelo Anthony. Anthony finished with just 10 points on 5/14 shooting, his lowest scoring game of the year. On the Knicks' final possession, Anthony got an iso and Trevor Ariza wouldn't give him any room to operate and the Knicks did not get a good shot off.
Bradley Beal's put forth a vintage performance, finishing with 19 points in the second half including the game winner and 28 in the game. He struggled from long range, going just 1/8, but was 11/14 from inside the three point line where he did his damage. Wall finished with 19 points on 8/14 and added nine assists. Marcin Gortat chipped in yet another double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Ariza finished with 10 points but it wasn't his offense that was so crucial for the Wizards, rather his defense on Anthony, forcing him to commit nine turnovers. Ariza was also a game-high +11.
JR Smith accounted for most of the Knicks offense, scoring 32 points on 12/23 shooting including 8/16 from beyond the arc. Stoudemire chipped in 16 points on 6/9 shooting.
The Wiz will go for three in a row when they host the Bulls on Saturday night at Verizon Center. - Jacob Raim
Start spreading the news... We've made it to NYC. The last trip of the regular season to the Big Apple, a place where we have yet to lose a game. In fact, we are a perfect 5-0 this season against the Knicks and Nets and look for a complete NY season sweep tonight at MSG.
Even though the Wizards beat these Knicks twice before, this is not the same Knicks team they'll face tonight. Although it's taken nearly the entire season, New York has finally started to click and have won 12 of their last 15 and last three overall. They are fighting for the 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and will certainly come out aggressive tonight.
Both Martell Webster and Randy Wittman used the word "electric" when talking about what to expect from the building tonight. There is always a buzz here at the Garden, but tonight expect an even rowdier atmosphere as the Knicks fans try and will the team into the playoffs.
This is not only a hot Knicks team but a different looking team than we saw back here in December. Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith are now in the starting lineup and playing their best basketball of the season. Tim Hardaway Jr. is their x-factor off the bench and can be lethal from 3-point range. Of course, one constant has been Carmelo Anthony, who leads the Eastern conference in scoring at 28.0 points per game. He's always threat #1 and the key to slowing down the Knicks. You have to hope he doesn't have one of those unconscious nights where he can't miss and Trevor Ariza will be tasked with trying to slow him down. The key is always to force him into tough shots and try and make him shoot a lot of shots if he's going to score.
The Wiz beat this Knicks team 102-101 back in December as Bradley Beal returned from injury and spearheaded a late comeback that included the game-winning layup with six seconds left in what was one of the better games of the season.
The Wizards have already clinched a playoff berth, but still have a lot to play for. Seeding will be crucial as we enter the playoffs and most importantly the Wiz will want to stay out of that 7 seed and ahead of Charlotte. They are still in the running for the 3,4, or 5 seed as well and can make up some ground with a win here in New York tonight.
We'll be live chatting from MSG at 7:30 tonight! See you there.