Written by William Lee
Paul Pierce and the company smothered Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks to a 98-83 defeat Tuesday night.
Right from the start the game was sloppy for both teams. There was too much isolation for Carmelo Anthony, who looked too happy to go one on one with Paul Pierce all game. Pierce suffocated Anthony to an 8-for-23 shooting night with the help of the rest of his teammates. Anthony seemed to want to make a point, that he could take Pierce, always barking back at Pierce anytime he did make a shot. This played right into Washington’s hand, and was most evident in the third quarter.
After a decent first half where the Knicks held a 45-40 lead, Washington immediately erased that advantage within the first two minutes of the second half. Both teams would go back and forth, tied at 56 mid-way through the third quarter. From that point on Washington would go on a 14-0 run, in what would be the defining stretch of the game, putting New York in a 70-56 deficit.
Simply put the offense for New York stagnated, the ball didn’t move crispy as it did in the victories opening week. The Knicks had no assist in the quarter…with the lack of ball movement, it lead to a lot of difficult shots, with New York converting on only 27.3% of those attempts. The defensive end wasn’t much better…going over the foul limit with 5:29 remaining in the quarter. The Wizards went to the line 12 times, missing almost half of their attempt, fortunately, but unfortunately the Wizards still outscored the Knicks 32-15 in the period.
New York got it to as close as six points on back to back to back threes, highlighted by an Iman Shumpert block, leading to a three on the other end. Shumpert’s three made it 71-77 with 7:53 remaining in the third quarter, Shumpert finished the game with 19 points. Washington answered with a 9-4 run to push their lead back to double figures, capped off by a Paul Pierce three, the Knicks never really threatened afterwards. Eventually throwing in the towel so that they can rest up for the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night.
It was fitting that Pierce was the one putting in the dagger to the Knick’s hope of a comeback, Pierce held Anthony to an extremely inefficient night. Vice-versa, Pierce had himself an extremely efficient night, scoring 17 points on ten attempts, while collecting a couple of steals and blocks along the way.