The New York Knicks won their third straight game after edging out a 96-88 win on the road against the Washington Wizards.
The Knicks found themselves in trouble in the third quarter and were down 77-73 heading in to the fourth. Luckily for New York, they were able to pull off a strong finish and outscore the Wizards by 12 points in the last quarter.
The biggest feather in the Knicks’ cap was that they were able to hold the Wizards to scoring just one point during the last three minutes and 20 seconds of the game.
Another plus was that John Wall was less of a factor than Knicks fans may have feared before the game. The point guard contributed 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting and six assists. By no means did he take over the game.
Instead, it was the rookie Bradley Beal who caused the most problems for the Knickerbockers. He led the Wizards in both points and rebounds with 29 and 11, respectively.
Here are five lessons the Knicks can take from this game and keep in mind for tomorrow’s game against the Miami Heat.
The Knicks knew what they were getting themselves into, as they had already lost to the Wizards on February 6.
Washington had an incredibly successful showing in February, especially at home.
The Wizards won five out of their seven games at the Verizon Center over the past month.
In addition to their win over the Knicks, the Wizards also bested the Clippers and the Nets.
So it was not a guarantee that the Knicks were going to win this game, but they stayed the course and were able to come out on top.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 30 points on another less-than-stellar shooting night.
He finished 10-of-24 from the field, which is where his shooting percentage has been for the past couple of games.
He was 10-of-26 against the Golden State Warriors, 6-of-18 against the Philadelphia 76ers and 11-of-24 against the Toronto Raptors.
Luckily for Anthony, he is one of the smartest offensive players in the game and knows that when his shot isn’t falling, he has to get to the line.
Melo has been near perfect from the free-throw line lately.
Last night he went 8-of-9, while in the past three games he has been 13-of-15, 16-of-18 and 9-of-11.
However, with important games against the Heat and the Thunder coming up, Anthony can’t expect to rely on his free-throw shooting anymore.
He will have to start shooting more efficiently.
Jason Kidd started the game on the bench, and James White was brought on in his place.
Kidd has played in 50 games so far this season, and this was only the second time he came off the bench.
Kidd has been a welcome addition to this team, as he’s bringing valuable experience. But over the past few weeks, he’s been in a slump.
Last night, he didn’t fare much better as he only scored four points and contributed five assists.
In his five last games, Kidd is averaging 2.6 PPG and shooting 20.8 percent from the field.
Kidd was unable to make a three-point shot against the Wizards, which means he hasn’t made a three-point shot since February 22 against the Toronto Raptors.
He is currently on a 0-of-14 stretch from behind the arc.
It wasn't just Kidd who failed from behind the arc. The entire team did.
The Knicks went just 8-of-28 from the three-point line, which is very bad news heading into the Miami game.
The Knicks were able to defeat the Heat twice this year thanks to their great three-point shooting.
If the Knickerbockers can’t improve their three-point shooting performance from last night, they are going to be in big trouble.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Heat were 7-of-20 and 6-of-16 against the Knicks, but have since gone on to become the second-best three-point shooting team in the league.
Recently, an NBA scout said (per ESPN.com) that the “Knicks second unit scares no one.”
It’s easy to see what the scout meant by that.
Last night, the Knicks only had Amar’e Stoudemire, Steve Novak, J.R Smith and Kidd coming off the bench.
Other than Stoudemire and Smith, who had 12 and 13 points respectively, the Knicks didn’t get a lot of production out of their bench.
Novak scored five points and only played 11 minutes.
It’s a far cry from earlier games this season, notably the two Heat games, where the Knicks would give significant playing time to almost everyone on the bench.
Although Stoudemire has come back from the injury that sidelined him, the Knicks have lost Ronnie Brewer to the Thunder and Rasheed Wallace to injury.
Kenyon Martin has yet to play more than five minutes for the Knicks and, it’s still unknown what impact he will have on the team.