John Wall does in Knicks late as furious rally falls short

The Knicks couldn’t conjure up a final dose of magic Monday night against the Wizards.

The All-Star guard duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal helped Washington transform an 11-point first-half hole into a 15-point cushion in the final minutes before a another furious comeback bid by the Knicks fell short in a 110-107 loss at the Garden.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points, Damyean Dotson had 17 and Enes Kanter added 13 points and 16 rebounds, but the Knicks (8-17) shot just 30.4 percent from the field (14-for-46) in the second half. They trailed by 15 with 3:33 remaining before netting the next 12 points, but Wall connected on a 3-pointer from the right side for a 110-104 lead with 11 seconds left.

Beal led all scorers with 27 points, Wall contributed 18 with 15 assists and Kelly Oubre netted 21 off the bench for the Wizards (10-14).

Rookie Kevin Knox missed eight of 11 shots for eight points and second-year guard Frank Ntilikina did not play for the second straight game for the Knicks, who will visit Boston on Thursday.

Courtney Lee made his first appearance of the season after missing the first 23 games with a neck injury and not getting off the bench Saturday against Milwaukee. He finished with seven points in 16 minutes but clanked a wide-open layup with 2:07 remaining.

Despite Knox’s career-best 26 points in Saturday’s uplifting OT win over the Bucks, Knicks coach David Fizdale replied “not yet” when asked before the game if he’s considering reinserting the ninth-overall pick in this year’s draft back into the starting lineup.

The Knicks instead have gone with the current veteran alignment — with Kanter, Noah Vonleh and Mario Hezonja up front — for the past eight games.

“Don’t hold me to it. … Right now we’re in a good place where guys are starting to settle in and play some decent basketball individually,” Fizdale said. “We’re playing a little bit better, collectively. So for right now, yeah, I think we’re starting to move into another direction, starting to get at least a little rhythm to the groups that we’re putting out there.

“But again, I don’t like to put a cap on anything. We have too many guys, too many young guys, I’ve got guys sitting right there on the fringe that I know are [champing] at the bit to get back in there. So I’m not going to clip the competitiveness and have those guys feeling like they can’t get back in the rotation because that’s not the facts. They can … but my No. 1 priority is trying to get the team to a place where everyone, or the bulk of the group, feels like they can play in a good way.”

The Wizards, meanwhile, came in with a puzzling 9-14 record, but they still possess — in Wall and Beal — what Fizdale described as a “top-five backcourt” in the NBA.

“Obviously they’ve been a pain to a lot of people,” Fizdale said. “It starts with the competition and really bringing a focus to every possession against them, understanding the game plan, know who you’re defending … and then obviously it takes all five guys on the court when you’ve got two guys on the court like that.”

The All-Star duo combined for 14 points in the opening quarter, but the Knicks’ starting unit combined for 28 of their 32 points in the session for a six-point cushion.

The Knicks led by as many as 11 in the second, with Hardaway netting seven late points for 15 in the half, and they carried a 61-52 advantage into intermission. But they came out shooting blanks in the third — missing 19 of their first 22 shots — to allow the Wizards to go on a 28-8 binge and an 86-80 lead entering the final 12 minutes.

Source: Read Full Article