Written by William Lee
The Washington Wizards quickly doubled up on the New York Knicks Friday night, leading 18-9 mid-way into the first quarter. After a much needed timeout, the Knicks responded with a 10-2 run to take the lead on a Carmelo Anthony jumper, up 20-19 with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter. Basketball is a game of runs, and after a Washington timeout, they would answer with a run of their own, ending the first quarter on a 7-2, to take a 27-21 lead.
New York’s started off the second quarter on a 15-4 run, playing suffocating defense, holding Washington scoreless for four minutes during the stretch. This gave New York a 36-31 lead with 5:31 left in the second quarter. The Knicks would continue to apply defensive pressure in the quarter, forcing the Wizards to 28.6% shooting in the period. New York outscored Washington 22-12 in the second quarter, leading by 43-39 at the half. J.R. Smith was huge for the Knicks, scoring 19 points in the first half, connecting on five money ball.
The Knicks and the Wizards would go back and forth in the third quarter, exchanging baskets. Amare Stoudemire at one points scored 12 straight points for New York, including a vicious slam dunk on Marcin Gortat to give the Knicks a 60-55 lead. Washington would regain the lead with John Wall aggressively attacking the paint on consecutive possessions, drawing free throws on the first possession, then getting into the lane for a dunk to help regain the lead for the Wizards 62-60. New York would answer, regaining the lead on J.R. Smith’s seventh three of the game. Then J.R. Smith would hit a fade away jumper to that was basically a buzzer beater for the third quarter, giving the Knicks a 67-64 lead heading into the fourth quarter.