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Knicks fail to execute on final two possessions, drop a tough one to Wizards

Dec 16, 2013, 11:26 PM EDT

NEW YORK — It seemed as though the Knicks were in perfect position to finish off what would have been an uplifting win over the Wizards. They overcame a 15-point third quarter deficit, saw J.R. Smith get hot from three-point distance, and got more than solid minutes from Tim Hardaway Jr. off the bench.

But a defensive breakdown and a failure to execute the most basic of basketball strategies on the final possession instead sent them home with yet another heart-breaking loss.

Washington was clutch in the game’s final moments, where the Knicks were all kinds of inept. And behind 14 fourth quarter points from Bradley Beal, the Wizards came away with the 102-101 victory to send New York to a record of 7-17 on the season.

Beal finished with 21 points in his first game back since Nov. 23, after missing the last nine due to injury. He hit huge three-pointers down the stretch, and then came the game-winner — a layup after blowing right by Beno Udrih and getting to the rim where no help defense from the Knicks would be found.

The lack of defensive rotation is one thing, and as it turned out, it was the least egregious of two huge mistakes on the play. The Knicks had a foul to give, and were instructed to take it in the team’s previous timeout. But Beal was apparently too quick for Udrih to react.

“We knew we had a foul to give,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said afterward. “But Beno opened the flood gates. It happened so fast. He was thinking the help was there and it wasn’t there. So he couldn’t even reach to grab the guy, to take the foul. But that’s where the breakdown occurred. We all knew we had a foul to give, but we didn’t get a chance to use it.”

Then came the bigger blunder from the Knicks.

With six seconds remaining and needing to go the length of the floor, a timeout is more than customary in those situations — it’s to be expected. The hesitation caused by that lack of timeout call resulted in Carmelo Anthony rushing up an awkward floater from just beyond the three-point line at the buzzer that didn’t have a chance of going in.

Woodson personally took the blame for that one, but his players tried to share in the responsibility.

“I probably should have taken for sure the timeout there at the end,” Woodson said. “Beno grabbed it and the ball was in Melo’s hands before I could even react, and I should have reacted a lot sooner once the ball went through the bucket. So that’s on me.”

J.R. Smith, who had a breakout 18-point performance and recently clashed with his head coach, was one of Woodson’s defenders.

“We’ve got to do a better job as players,” Smith said. “We knew we had there timeouts. We’ve got guys who have been in the league 11, 10 years on the floor and we’ve just got to do a better job of that. We can’t put everything in coach’s hands because he’s out there thinking and reacting like we are. We’ve got to do a better job as players, and be generals out there.”

Anthony similarly had his coach’s back, but did admit he was expecting the timeout to be called.

“I think we was expecting the timeout,” he said. “But I think as players we’ve got to be smart enough to know that, as well. In a situation like that we knew we had timeouts, we knew we had a foul to give at the end of the game. But we can’t leave it on the coach to do everything. We’ve got to know that as well.”

It was a brutal loss for the Knicks in more ways than one. They’re down another body after Pablo Prigioni suffered a hairline fracture in his toe that will cause him to miss at least two weeks. Iman Shumpert may have to play some one, and the team will continue to struggle with more odd lineup combinations as it tries to crawl out of its early-season slump.

But for this single game, winning was within reach. The lack of execution on the final two possessions, however, let it all slip away.

“I think everything just happened so fast,” Anthony said. “I don’t know if we were supposed to call a timeout and we didn’t. We lost the game. Tough loss. Tough way to lose a game.”

  1. drewzducks - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Headline should read ” Knicks fail AGAIN ! Should be executed”

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Flashbacks of Melo failing against the Nuggets on the last possession a couple weeks ago…

      Melo’s a great guy, amazing talent but needs a tough coach who won’t take his BS low IQ plays losing plays. Woodson’s a decent coach but he’s not the right coach for Melo.

  2. stephenolszewski - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    And the downward spiral continues…

  3. phillysports1 - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Bums . I saw the game live , they are awful lmao!!

    • cruzan80 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      “Awful” is how the Sixers made Joe Johnson look like Michael Jordan last night….LMAO!

  4. brianscalabrine - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Carmelo Anthony’s awareness at the end of games amazes me at this point in his career. I know of two times right off the top of my head where he has made decisions that are idiotic. The first one was that Thursday night game on TNT where he did the Hack-a-Dwight with under two minutes left. The Rockets got to choose their free throw shooter and got the ball back, and ended up winning by 1 point.

    Then, this tonight. Maybe Woodson was going to call a timeout, maybe he wasn’t. But you don’t demand the ball like he did, and then WALK up the court near the half-court line with 3 seconds left, panic run, and then jack up a shot that third graders take during recess. He even had a good full second to set himself (I believe there was 1.7 left on the clock when he took that shot). Just dumb basketball.

    • cmehustle - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      What they should have done was call a timeout right after the made basket. Then you get the ball at half court. See you did not know that. But you are not in the NBA. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks are. They should have known that.

  5. 00maltliquor - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    No lie, if you wanna come up quick, find a way to put your money against the Knicks, no matter who they play, where they play or what the spread is. Jeezhus Krysssst!

  6. 00maltliquor - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    So 50 year old Jason Kidd meant THAT much to the Knicks last year, huh?

  7. legend30 - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Knicks style of basketball. No basketball IQ and it starts with James Dolan. This team should be on Comedy Central, the ratings would be great.

  8. innovativethinking87 - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    Why is this shocking ? In 10 plus years in the league Carmelo has only been out the first round only 2 times. That’s pathetic.

  9. shanelsweet - Dec 17, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    Fun game to watch though. You had to feel pretty good when they stormed back and took that 5 point lead. JR played better for sure and Shumpert was rebounding. And, Carmelo was being Carmelo. He really is unstoppable at times. That’s always fun to watch. Still if the Wiz hadn’t kept turning the ball over like a bunch of kids, this one wouldn’t have been close. The Knicks have at least one and may two players who are playing too many minutes who aren’t too good.

  10. 950003cups - Dec 17, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    It’s time for NY to trade Melo. Of they get anything for him, it would be a miracle. Useless is an understatement. The whole idea of having a “super star” is for them to actually help you win. He’s a “me first” guy. Team means nothing to him. He has to go.

    • djeter220 - Dec 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Then I guess you didn’t watch the game. Shooting well enough to start drawing double teams then passing out of them for teammates to hit open threes wasn’t exactly detrimental to his team. The Knicks stink for many reasons, start watching to figure out why.

  11. patsfan92 - Dec 17, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    i honestly dont know why these guys get more articles than the pacer, heat, or blazers. is it a whole NBC/New York market thing. like seriously. they have been below average since last years playoffs and they still get talked about like they actually won something in the past 40 (and counting) years

    • innovativethinking87 - Dec 17, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Tell me about it… The best teams are in the small market. Portland, OKC, Indiana, SA… If anything let them keep highlighting these weak big market teams they need to get embarrassed by the attention..

    • jimeejohnson - Dec 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Same question should be asked about the Lakers.

  12. pete72257 - Dec 17, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    The real issues involving the Knicks, as we all know is the Point Guards.
    I am diappointed with Mike Woodson’s decision making as to who plays and who does not play.
    Tim Hardaway Jr should be given more playing time as well as the rookie point guard Toure Murry(who has not seen the day of light since making the roster). Let us see what Murry can do, since no one has shown the fans anything.
    Woodson also should play Metta World Peace. If World Peace or Shumpert was defending Mr. Bradley Beal, then the Knicks could have won the game..
    Finally, why is Melo bringing the ball up court, when its a point guards job???
    I am not sure, if anyone has noticed whenever Carmelo driibles the ball up court, he can not create a decent shot for himself..
    Melo is more effective when playing off the ball.. Yet no one on the Knicks coaching staff can see that!!

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