The Wizards played much better without Nene for the second game in a row, but they weren't able to put away the New York Knicks en route to their second consecutive loss, 96-88, at Verizon Center on Friday.
Player of the game: Bradley Beal had a career high 29 points and 11 rebounds, just his second double-double of the season. He shot 10-for-21 and also made key defensive plays to force a turnover by Amar'e Stoudemire and out-battle him for a crucial rebound in the fourth.
The rundown: Wall was more confident in how he ran the offense, blowing past Jason Kidd, 39, and finishing at the rim early on. Beal had 11 points in the first half as the lead changed hands 14 times. SF Trevor Ariza came off the bench to contribute nine points. The Wizards could've went into the half with the lead, but J.R. Smith nailed a three-pointer, then stripped Emeka Okafor and assisted Carmelo Anthony on a fast-break layup. The Knicks, who fell 106-96 to the Wizards here on Feb. 6, led 54-48. Anthony finished the game by leading all scorers with 30 points for New York on 10-for-24 shooting. His three-pointer with 2:21 left spotted the Knicks a 92-87 lead. The Wizards closed by missing three free throws and committing four turnovers in the last 5:16.
Turning point: Wall chased down Kidd on a fast break to make a remarkable recovery and pin his layup on the backboard in the fourth quarter. It was ruled goal-tending, the basket counted and Wall was hit with a technical for showing up up the officials with his objection to the call. Anthony made the free throw for a 78-77 lead and the Knicks never looked back again. They entered the period trailing 77-73 and Washington had the momentum.
Trending upward: Wall didn't close strong in the fourth, but he went 6-for-14 for 16 points, six assists and five turnovers in 42 minutes. It was positive step for the point guard, who came under scrutiny for complaining about his playing time to coach Randy Wittman when he committed more turnovers (seven) than he scored points (six) in a 96-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Late scratch: Garrett Temple came off the bench to spell Wall because A.J. Price, who was 8-for-13 shooting in the last two games and played better than Wall, sat because of a right thigh contusion.
Who’s next: Sunday vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 6 ET; Wednesday at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8; Friday at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30; Saturday vs. Charlotte Bobcats, 8. All games on CSN.