NEW YORK (AP) — Bradley Beal was not selected for the All-Star Game this weekend. His performance against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night showed he deserved the nod.
Beal scored 30 points and led the Washington Wizards‘ fourth-quarter surge in a 114-96 win over the Knicks.
“I love playing here. I think we all do,” Beal said. “It’s the Garden, you just automatically get hyped.”
Davis Bertans added 16 points, Isaac Bonga had 13 and Troy Brown Jr. scored 11 as Washington closed out the victory with a 34-19 run.
The Knicks were within 80-77 following a jumper by Kevin Knox with 9:16 left in the game.
But, Washington went on a 24-8 run that included 10 points by Beal. That lifted the Wizards to a 104-85 lead that eventually reached 20 points twice.
The Wizards have won five of their last seven games and are only three games behind Orlando in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re in a good spot,” Beal said. “We can make a lot of noise coming out of the break.”
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Elfrid Payton scored 19, RJ Barrett added 16 and Mitchell Robinson had 11.
“He’s (Beal) a great player who came in here and did what he needed to do,” Mitchell said. “I feel like he should’ve been in it (All-Star Game). He’s played well the whole season.”
The Wizards led by one, 25-24, after the first quarter. Back-to-back baskets by Moe Harkless gave the Knicks a 28-27 lead to open the second. But, Washington went on to take a six-point lead, 36-30, on a 3-pointer by Bertans with 8:50 remaining.
Beal’s layup gave the Wizards another six-point lead with just under three minutes left, before the Knicks closed out the half on a 10-0 run to go ahead 50-46 at the break.
“We had a shaky end of the second quarter, but bounced back and did a much better job in the second half,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said. “I knew the shots were going to fall sooner or later.”
Barrett’s free throws gave the Knicks a game-high six-point lead to open the second half, but the Wizards countered by scoring the next eight points. That started a 16-3 run, giving them a seven-point lead, 62-55.
New York responded by scoring eight straight points and retaking the lead for the final time.
Beal’s three-point play stopped the streak and Washington went up by as many as six points before settling for a 77-73 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Bonga’s 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in the game gave the Wizards their final 20-point advantage, 114-94.
“They went on a run. They were just better than us in that stretch,” said Barrett, who went 0 for 4 from long distance as the Knicks shot just 13% (3 of 23) from behind the arc. “Nothing much you could do about that.”
Wizards: Washington has beaten New York in 11 of the last 12 meetings at Madison Square Garden. The Wizards’ only loss to the Knicks during that stretch was on April 7, 2019. Overall, the Wizards have won 20 of the last 24 games between the teams. … Washington did not commit its first foul of the game until 8:33 remained in the second quarter (Moritz Wagner).
Knicks: No one was listed on the Knicks’ injury report for the first time all season. The team’s healthy scratches were Kadeem Allen, Ignas Brazdeikis, Allonzo Trier, and Kenny Wooten. … Harkless made his Knicks debut following his trade from the Clippers and finished with four points, five rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes.
FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL
With 9:02 remaining in the game, Shabazz Napier hoisted up a long-distance shot after Washington called a timeout. Bobby Portis grabbed it before it hit the rim, and as Shabazz turned to walk toward his bench, Portis threw the ball at Shabazz’s back and was ejected.
LAST MEN STANDING
Only one player on each team has been on the floor for every game this season. Portis has played in all 55 games for New York (four starts), while Ish Smith has been in all 53 for Washington (16 starts).
Interim head coach Mike Miller responded after the Knicks newly-hired branding consultant, Steve Stoute, explained: “There had to be a change. The change will bring a new coach and new coaches that are going to develop these younger players.”
“I don’t really have a reaction to it,” Miller said. “I found out about it from someone else after the fact, and didn’t really have a reaction to it. (Right now I’m) locked in and doing what we do here. My job right now is to get this team ready to play. My focus is on these players.”
Wizards: Washington hosts Cleveland on Friday, Feb. 21.
Knicks: New York hosts Indiana on Friday, Feb. 21.
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