LONDON (AP) — When Bradley Beal felt his legs go out beneath him, likely ending his chances of scoring the go-ahead basket for the Washington Wizards, he spotted Thomas Bryant standing alone in the lane.
Beal dropped the ball off to Bryant, who was awarded two points after Allonzo Trier was called for goaltending on his layup attempt with 0.4 seconds remaining, and the Wizards claimed a 101-100 victory over the New York Knicks at The O2 Arena on Thursday night.
It was an odd finish for the Wizards, who outscored the Knicks 24-11 in the fourth quarter to send New York to its fifth consecutive defeat.
“I’ve never seen that — especially in London,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “But what a finish. This was one of those games that nobody deserves to go on their long flight home without a win, but it happens in sports.”
Beal scored 26 points and had nine rebounds and Otto Porter Jr. had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, but it was Bryant’s bucket — or, more accurately, the one he didn’t make — that mattered most.
Noah Vonleh gave the Knicks the 100-99 edge with a one-handed finish over Bryant with 33.7 seconds remaining, and a 3-pointer by Beal rimmed out. Kevin Knox tried to run down the clock, but his off-balance 3-point attempt missed the rim and led to a shot-clock violation with 3.3 seconds remaining.
That left Washington with one last opportunity. After Beal drove the lane, Trier and Emmanuel Mudiay failed to account for Bryant, who released the ball in time but had his shot swatted away by Trier.
“I think from my angle, watching the replay … I was peeking over (the official’s shoulder) and it looked like it started just on its tick down,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “But we had a breakdown in coverage. It was supposed to be a switch and it wasn’t a switch and we paid for it.”
Beal, who worked out with Bryant in Los Angeles during the offseason, said he didn’t hesitate dumping the ball off at the last second.
“It was a great play,” Beal said. “It was a play for me to basically catch it and get to the basket, but I slipped on something, lost my footing a little bit, and I saw TB rolling to the basket. I trusted him to make the right play for us.”
Mudiay scored 25 points, though he missed a heave as time expired, and Luke Kornet finished with 16 points, including 12 in the first quarter, for the Knicks.
New York held a 10-point lead after the first quarter and pushed it to 19 in the second before entering halftime up 63-53.
It then led by as many as 16 in the third quarter before Washington began to rally. The Wizards reclaimed the lead at 92-91 with 4:34 left on Porter’s pull-up jumper.
Beal, whose streak of three games with 30 or more points ended, scored only eight points in the first half.
The Wizards shot 7 for 27 from 3-point range and had a 51-42 rebounding advantage.
Knicks: C Enes Kanter, who is averaging 14.4 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, did not travel with the team for the game because of fears over his safety as an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. … Rookie C Mitchell Robinson returned after missing 13 games with a groin injury and finished with four points and two rebounds in 10 minutes.
Wizards: Owner Ted Leonsis said before the game that he would “never, ever tank” and that Washington, which has reached the playoffs four of the last five seasons, would push to do so again. “I don’t think you can tell a coach, ‘Don’t try to win,” Leonsis said. “I would never do that.”
Knicks: Return home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Wizards: Host the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
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