Porzingis’ 35 points not enough as Knicks lose

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Rich Dubroff

For the first time since his knee surgery in May, John Wall played in back-to-back games, and the re­sult was a rare win for the Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards.

Wall scored 23 points and had 11 as­sists and Otto Porter added 21 points as the Wiz­ards won for just the third time in 11 games, beat­ing the New York Knicks 119-112 on Thurs­day night.

Wall sat out games in the first two Wash­ing­ton backto-backs this sea­son, and the Wiz­ards lost both times.

Af­ter Wed­nes­day night’s dis­heart­en­ing loss to the 76ers where Wall played 24 min­utes, Wash­ing­ton coach Scott Brooks felt his star guard was ready to go again.

“There was go­ing to be a time dur­ing the sea­son where he was go­ing to have to play back-to-back,” Brooks said. “The way he was pro­gress­ing dur­ing the last four or five weeks, we felt that it was a good time.”

Brooks didn’t want to play Wall more than 32 min­utes, and when the Wiz­ards opened up a 27-point lead late in the third quar­ter, it looked as if Wall could play much less than that.

But New York scored 47 points in the fourth quar­ter, and Brooks put Wall back in the game in the fi­nal min­utes.

Once the Knicks went on a 12-0 run to cut the lead to 108-98 with 2:37 to play, Wall se­cured the win with two late bas­kets and four free throws.

New York was led by Der­rick Rose with 27. Carmelo An­thony scored 19, and Kristaps Porzingis, who had a ca­reer-high 35 against Detroit on Wed­nes­day night, was held to 16. Bran­don Jen­nings had 15 of his sea­son­high 17 points in the fourth quar­ter.

WHAT WALL BRINGS

Brooks liked much about Wall’s game.

“He had a ma­jor im­pact in the first half, and I think he only had two points,” Brooks said. “There are a few play­ers in the league that can im­pact a game with pass­ing and de­fense, and he’s one of them.”

Wall had been ea­ger to test him­self, and was con­fi­dent he passed the test.

“I don’t like to miss games. I felt like I could have played ear­lier, but it was just part of what the doc­tor’s plan was,” Wall said.

LACK OF EF­FORT

De­spite the late fourth quar­ter charge, Rose didn’t nec­es­sar­ily like what he saw from his team­mates.

“Tonight was ef­fort,” Rose said. “When we see some­one down or we see some­one where things are not click­ing, that’s when we’ve got to come to­gether as a team. So it’s still early in the year. We’ve still got a lot more games to play. It just takes time.”

DE­FENSE LACK­ING

New York al­lowed a sea­son high in points and Wash­ing­ton shot 54.3 per­cent.

“Some of that is guys are wide open. There’s a few of them that were con­tested, but we looked like we were a lit­tle tired from last night and we weren’t get­ting all the way up on the guys. And to win on the road, you’ve got to play good de­fense,” coach Jeff Hor­nacek said.

TIP-INS

Knicks: F Lance Thomas missed his third straight game with a sore left an­kle. ... C Joakim Noah was as­sessed a tech­ni­cal foul mid­way through the third quar­ter. . Have lost 10 of last 11 to Wash­ing­ton.

Wiz­ards: Made a sea­son-high 15 3-point­ers . ... G Bradley Beal re­turned af­ter missing three games with a right ham­string in­jury and had 18 points.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host At­lanta on Sun­day. The Hawks have won six straight.

Wiz­ards: Host Mi­ami on Saturday. It’s the sec­ond of three con­sec­u­tive home games.

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