Photo courtesy Patrick Pho
The Knicks entered the Verizon Center Friday night riding a seven game winning streak on the road.
In other words they were exactly the team the Wizards are aspiring to be after starting the season 0-12 on the road. The Wiz came back home after a long stretch away from DC, playing the last five out of six on the road.
However the home cooking wasn’t as sweet as Knicks fans filled the seats inside the Phone Booth, making some wonder if this should be counted as an away game. Of course when you play a local big market like New York having a few extra fans cheering for the away team should be expected.
John Wall, who has been battling injuries to start the season, returned to the starting line-up but didn’t fare wellgoing 4-14, 8 pts, 6 ast, 5 reb.
The Knicks had their own weapon in the form of Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemiere has been red hot coming into the game with six games in a row of 30 or more points. He went 7-10 for 15 points in the first half.
He was clearly out for that seventh straight 30-point game, which would make him the second player in Knicks franchise history to record seven consecutive 30-point games.
The Wizards looked to the bench for help as Thornton got into early foul trouble. Both Kurt Hinrich, and Jianlian Yi were helpful off the bench. They both did well off at the foul line (combined 9-10), flashed some D on the pick and roll, and Yi made a flashy pass in transition to a sprinting John Wall for the slam dunk in the first quarter.
However anything about defense for both sides evaporated as the game went on.
Starting the second half the Wizards were up 54-49. That lead wouldn’t last long- Aamar’e was in beast mode, quickly putting up two more points to get to within 13 of 30. An 11-3 run put the Knicks on top, with the Wizards struggling to contain Stoudemire.
From there the game was in full shootout mode with nine lead changes in the 3rd quarter alone. Only when the Knicks pulled away late in the 4th quarter was it clear who would walk away with the win. Stoudemire finally broke the 30 point barrier and kept his hot streak alive with less than 3 minutes to go in the game.
The Wizards wouldn’t go down without a fight and over the Amar’e MVP chants- they fought their way to within three in the final couple of minutes.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Knicks beat out the Wizards 101-95.
While Spike Lee, who was in attendance, may have enjoyed the game; it wasn’t a promising start to a week of big games for the Wiz. Tuesday brings the LA Lakers and the following weekend the LeBron, Wade, and the rest of the Miami Heat come into town.
It’s going to be a long road to the holidays for Wall and company.