Washington came storming out of the gate. They nailed their first seven field goals to open up a 16-5 advantage in the first four minutes. But the Knicks had cut the deficit to just a point only a couple of minutes later.
Washington continued their hot shooting, knocking down 53 percent of their shots in the first half, including six of eight from behind the arc for Martell Webster and ex-Knick Trevor Ariza.
The Knicks did not like getting a taste of their own long-range medicine. The Wizards were 11-of-20 from behind the arc while the Knicks were just 9-of-28.
Ultimately, the Knicks played atrocious defense, repeatedly conceding wide-open corner threes and allowing some uncontested drives to the hoop. At one stage in the fourth quarter, the Wizards were 10-of-14 from beyond the arc.
In the end, Washington shot 53 percent to New York's 40 percent. That tells the tale of the evening. The Knicks inexplicably were outscored 36-23 in the fourth quarter. Mike Woodson probably did a lot of yelling in the locker room.
New York came into the contest at 31-15, just a half game behind the Miami Heat for first place in the East.
The Wizards, by contrast, were 12-35, second-worst in the conference and 20 games back from Miami.
In their last meeting on November 30, the Knicks spanked Washington 108-87. But this is a different-looking Wizards squad from the one that rolled over just two months ago.
Washington has been energized by the return of John Wall (who had 21 points and nine assists in this one), and they're playing like a different team. The Wizards are 7-7 since Wall came back, and they began the night having won six of their past seven games at home.
Now it's seven of eight. Let's take a look at the Knicks position by position and evaluate their poor performance.
Raymond Felton, PG: A-
At one point in the second quarter, Felton busted out a vicious crossover that actually made John Wall fall down. The crowd oohed and aahed, and Felton knocked down the wide-open jumper.
While Felton had only one assist in the first half, he brought some efficient scoring to the tune of 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
And Ray continued his strong play into the second half, finishing with 17 points, four assists and two steals. The Knicks are delighted to have him back, but they needed more on this night.
Jason Kidd, SG: D+
Kidd has been struggling from the field lately, shooting just 4-of-17 over his past three games. And it was more of the same in this game.
Kidd began the game by missing his first four shots; he pretty much rode the bench from there.
Though he did contribute two boards, two dimes and a steal, it's clear that his balky back is still affecting him. Even though he started, he was limited to under 18 minutes.
Iman Shumpert, SF: C
Mike Woodson went with a small starting lineup for this game as the 6'5" Shumpert started at the 3.
Shumpert played his typical strong defense, looking energetic and and frenetic.
He did not contribute much offense, however, aside from one nice drive for a layup. At one point, he was just 1-of-7 shooting. Shump finished with five points, two boards and two assists in 20 minutes.
New York's defensive schemes broke down again and again. Washington's small forwards, Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza, finished with 39 points.
Carmelo Anthony, PF: B
Carmelo naturally led the Knicks in scoring, but he struggled from the field. At one point he was just 4-of-13.
While he did heat up down the stretch, it was not the best performance from Anthony. He ended up with 31 points on 10-of-23 shooting.
He also played physically, snatching nine boards and adding three assists. But he committed five of the team's nine turnovers, which ended up being critical in a game that was just a two-possession difference until the final two minutes.
Tyson Chandler, C: B-
Chandler had his streak of three straight games with 20 or more rebounds snapped.
He still grabbed enough boards to be in double-digits (13) and also added eight points. But the Wizards did a good job of neutralizing the alley-oop, which can make Chandler such a potent scorer in the paint.
While Chandler's interior defense was strong as usual, he could do little about the disgraceful job that the Knicks did on the perimeter.
J.R. Smith, SG: B-
Smith couldn't find his shot from long range, missing all four that he attempted. He scored efficiently within the arc (6-of-10), but his three-point shot just wasn't there. He even air-balled one of them.
Smith finished with 13 points, two rebounds and two assists, but the Knicks needed even more scoring from their mercurial sixth man.
Rest of Bench: B+
This grade is all because of Amar'e Stoudemire. It's just too bad the rest of the bench was invisible.
Also, none of them can play strong defense, which is what the Knicks required.
Amar'e has looked strong lately, and he is challenging J.R. Smith for the title of the Knicks' sixth man. Either way, he's the most talented sixth or seventh man in the league.
Mike Woodson seems to have found his nine-man rotation, and STAT is the bedrock. He can provide frontcourt scoring off the bench and also serve as Tyson Chandler's backup when called upon.
Stoudemire started strong versus Washington, scoring nine first-half points and adding a rebound, a steal and a block.
STAT was attacking the rack all evening, going up strong on numerous close looks at the hoop and drawing contact. He finished with 19 points, six boards, three blocks and a steal.
Pablo Prigioni has played well as of late, but he didn't make a significant impact on this game, scoring just three points. He did grab three rebounds and dished an assist in his eight minutes, but the Knicks were minus-11 with him on the floor.
Steve Novak has found his stroke lately, but he failed to make an impact in this contest, missing both shots that he attempted in nine minutes. He also appeared lost at times on defense.
Kurt Thomas, Chris Copeland, Ronnie Brewer and James White did not play. It makes one wonder whether someone like Copeland could have provided a spark to the lackluster Knicks.
It was a very disappointing effort from New York, but credit is due to the Wizards, who shot the lights out and have been making the most of their newfound home-court advantage.