Knicks Outlast Wizards 118-116 in Overtime: Postgame Notes, Quotes & Bullets
A bit of everything happened in Friday night’s 118-116 overtime loss to the New York Knicks. Guys played hard. The effort was there. The Wiz kids did some good things, and they made some mistakes. Some crucial calls did not go Washington’s way, one in specific for which some referees should be penalized. And as exciting as the game was, it was just bad basketball (about 4:45 into overtime, the score was 2-0 Knicks). But those are the breaks.
In any case, the run-down is a tad messy, so let’s go over in bullet points:
- JaVale McGee was removed from the starting lineup because he was late to the morning 10:30 am shoot-around. Head scratcher. Prominent media members in the locker room before the game wondered how, one game and two days removed from getting absolutely abused by Marc Gasol, McGee could conduct himself in a such a manner.
- Of course, McGee also often got abused off the dribble by Al Harrington (37 points off the bench). Yes, that is a bad match-up problem, but breaking down in a defensive stance and showing a bit more moxie wouldn’t hurt.
- But hey, the guy worked hard and finished with a more-than-respectable 18 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots, some of them huge.
- Flip Saunders indicated that the longer McGee plays, he hopes that his inconsistent efforts will be fewer and further in between. So, don’t worry McGee fans, he will get chances going forward. Just worry about if he will take advantage of them.
- James Singleton, who started for McGee, got hurt early in the second quarter and would not return. After the game he said he came down funny and that he had a mid-foot sprain. The Wizards really missed both his energy and playing ability. Yes, James Singleton. He had three blocks, two against David Lee, within a four-minute span in the first quarter.
- Mike Miller fouled out with 40 seconds left in regulation. He led the Wizards with a plus/minus of +15. His sixth foul was of an offensive nature as he drove to the basket, but jumped to pass with nowhere to go. He often jumps to pass to his team’s detriment. Miller is a main guy on this squad. But it seems like he has an issue with being a main guy. That is a problem.
- Al Thornton was second in plus/minus with +11. He fouled out with a minute left in regulation.
- The Wizards obviously also suffered when those guys had to sit with five fouls and not just when they were out of the game completely.
- The only other Wizards with positive plus/minuses were Andray Blatche +3, Quinton Ross +3 and Earl Boykins +2. We’ll get to Blatche in a second, but Ross also fouled out with 1:47 left in OT. Boykins only played 12 minutes. I’m not sure why he didn’t get more time in OT when both teams were extremely tired and the Wizards were struggling to score.
- Shaun Livingston, in his first action since December 19, 2009, which came with the Oklahoma City Thunder, played just two minutes and managed to commit a crucial gaffe. With the Wizards down 114-112 and 45 seconds left in OT, Livingston was taking the ball out of bounds and drew a 5-second violation.
- Nick Young hit a huge/crazy three-pointer with 6.5 seconds left in OT to tie the game. But otherwise, he looked listless and could not make a mark on the game in any regard. And he received plenty of chances with others in foul trouble.
- “We’ve brought guys in who have played with a great amount of energy,” said Saunders. “What happens is when you don’t play with energy, it becomes magnified. Because you’re out there with guys flying all over the place, and if you’re not flying all over the place, it looks like you’re lost.” This was Flip’s answer when I asked him about Nick Young. Less and less, Young is looking like a guy who won’t stick around in the NBA, much less the Wizards. Hustle/energy and basketball IQ are two areas in which he severely lacks development.
- Andray Blatche had a career night. He put up career highs in field-goal attempts (21), minutes (51), defensive rebounds (15), total rebounds (18), assists (6), and of course, turnovers (8). Hey, with a bunch of guys gone, somebody has to put up numbers.
- “He still has the tendency … when things don’t go right, he gets down on himself. If you’re going to be a main guy … you can’t do that,” said coach Saunders about Blatche.
- Randy Foye played well (22 points, 10 assists, 3 turnovers, 8-11 FGs), and hit a big shot with 25 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, but his point guard skills have a long way to go. I’ll have more on that to come.
- After Foye’s shot, the Knicks got the ball back with 25.5 seconds left. Wilson Chandler went to the hoop and McGee made a game-saving block … 24 second shot-clock violation, right? Nope. For some reason, the Wizards were only left with two-tenths of a second to make a play. It should have been 1.5 seconds. Referee fail.
- The refs also made a horrendous loose-ball call against Mike Harris after JaVale McGee missed the second of two free-throws with the Wizards down 114-113 and 13 seconds left in overtime. The Wizards would have recovered the loose ball rebound, but again, a horrendous call. Guess the NBA’s headquarters in New York wanted to end the Knicks’ eight-game losing streak. Good job guys.
- David Lee hit the final nail in the coffin at the end of overtime. With only about 1.5 second left after he made the shot putting the Knicks up 118-166, and with the Wizards out of timeouts, not much could be mustered. McGee tried a length-of-the-court pass to Blatche, but he was unable to recover the ball to get off a shot.
- And that was the game. Despite a lot, the Wizards didn’t give up and they fought until the end, and that’s something you got to respect.