Wizards pull off biggest comeback of NBA season, rallying from 27 down to top Knicks, 118-113

The Baltimore Sun

His team had just completed the biggest comeback of the NBA season, but Bradley Beal wasn't feeling great about it.

Beal scored 36 points, and the Washington Wizards overcame a 27-point deficit to beat the slumping New York Knicks, 118-113, on Wednesday night.

“It's twofold because you never want to be down in a game, but it's great that we won. I guess it is something we can be proud of,” Beal said. “We won the game, but we still can't come out with that type of focus and energy we had because it could have gotten ugly. We could have been down 30 or 40 if we didn't turn it on.”

Otto Porter Jr. added 22 points and Ian Mahinmi had 17 for the Wizards, who hold the fourth playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 37 points — 32 in the first half — to lead the Knicks, who've lost a season-worst eight straight and are 0-4 since losing All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to a season-ending knee injury. Enes Kanter added 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Before Wednesday night, the largest comeback win of the season was produced by the Boston Celtics, who rallied from 26 points down to beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Dec. 28.

The Wizards trailed 68-41 after Hardaway's pullup jumper with 2:56 left before halftime.

“It was like coaching two different teams tonight, a first-half team and a second-half team,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “I prefer the second-half team.”

Washington went on a 42-15 run that spanned about 11{ minutes of the second and third quarters, tying it at 83 with 3:32 left in the third.

Markieff Morris' 3-pointer about two minutes later gave Washington its first lead since he made the game's first basket.

“I didn't want to lose before the [All-Star] break,” Beal said. “We did a good job of coming around. Coach gave us a good pep talk at halftime. It lite a fire.”

The Wizards shot 77.2 percent (17 of 22) from the field in that third quarter and outscored the Knicks 39-15 to take a 90-87 lead into the fourth. The Knicks, who shot 63 percent (29 of 46) in the first half, managed only 21.7 percent (5 of 23) in the third quarter.

New York reclaimed the lead for the final time, 94-93, on Courtney Lee's jumper with 9:41 left in the game. Washington led for good after Porter's jumper with 6:27 remaining and pulled ahead by as many as eight on three occasions in the final minutes.

“This is really tough, especially going into the break,” Hardaway said. “They were down 27 and we had an opportunity to close the door and go into the break with a great mindset. It sucks to let this one go like that. It's frustrating. It's embarrassing.”

Morris finished with 13 points, and Tomas Satoransky had 11 assists.

Michael Beasley scored 16 for the Knicks.

TIP-INS

Wizards: Washington has scored at least 100 points in 10 straight games, going 7-3 during that stretch.

Knicks: Hardaway entered the game having made only five of his previous 44 3-point attempts. He made his first five attempts on Wednesday night. The Knicks have reached the 100-point plateau just twice during their skid.

WIZARDRY

Washington has won eight straight against the Knicks and 15 of the last 16 in the series, including eight in a row at Madison Square Garden. New York's last home victory over Washington was on April 9, 2013.

HAVEN'T HIT THE WALL

The Wizards have gone 7-2 without All-Star John Wall, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Jan. 31. Washington has recorded at least 26 assists in eight of its past nine games.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

The Knicks played their first game at the current Madison Square Garden exactly 50 years ago. On Feb. 14, 1968, New York posted a 114-102 victory over the San Diego Rockets in the second game of a doubleheader. Boston defeated Detroit, 118-96, in the opener, with the Pistons' Dave DeBusschere (who later played for New York) scoring the arena's first point on a free throw.

UP NEXT

Wizards: Visit Cleveland next Thursday.

Knicks: At Orlando next Thursday.

WASHINGTON—Porter Jr. 10-18 2-3 22, Morris 6-11 0-0 13, Gortat 3-7 0-0 6, Beal 14-22 4-4 36, Satoransky 4-8 0-0 9, Oubre Jr. 1-6 0-0 2, Scott 2-6 0-0 5, Mahinmi 6-8 5-8 17, Meeks 2-2 4-4 8. Totals 48-88 15-19 118.

NEW YORK—Hardaway Jr. 14-24 3-3 37, Beasley 8-24 0-0 16, Kanter 9-15 6-8 24, Jack 1-5 2-2 5, Lee 4-12 0-0 8, Thomas 3-4 0-0 8, O’Quinn 1-2 0-0 2, Ntilikina 2-2 1-2 5, Mudiay 3-9 2-3 8. Totals 45-97 14-18 113.

Washington 26 25 39 28 — 118

New York 39 33 15 26 — 113

3-point goals—Washington 7-22 (Beal 4-7, Morris 1-2, Scott 1-2, Satoransky 1-4, Porter Jr. 0-3, Oubre Jr. 0-4), New York 9-19 (Hardaway Jr. 6-9, Thomas 2-2, Jack 1-1, Mudiay 0-2, Lee 0-5). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Washington 45 (Gortat, Mahinmi 8), New York 42 (Kanter 14). Assists—Washington 31 (Satoransky 11), New York 21 (Kanter, Jack 5). Total fouls—Washington 16, New York 17. A—19,812 (19,812).

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