Harris DeckerThe Knicks lost to the Wizards 102-101 on Monday night. In what was a competitive game throughout, the Knicks coughed up the game in the final seconds. After Beno Udrih was unable to foul Bradley Beal, Beal drove to the basket and scored on an uncontested layup.
Instead of calling a timeout, the Knicks quickly inbounded the ball to Carmelo Anthony who drove slowly up the court before taking a wild shot from well behind the 3-point arc. The play was a complete mess and cost the Knicks a chance to win the game.
After the game, there were more questions than answers from the team. First of all, what was Udrih doing on the floor in a situation that called for a defensive lineup? Udrih missed 1 of his 2 free throw attempts with 24 seconds to go and was left in the game after the Wizards called a timeout. He was asked to guard Beal on the all important possession and let him drive to the basket and score. To that point, Udrih had played a good game in Pablo Prigioni’s absence, but just had no business being on the court under those circumstances.
The second question is why Mike Woodson didn’t call a timeout immediately after that basket? With 6.9 seconds on the clock, there was plenty of time for the team to call a timeout, regroup and then call a play after advancing the ball. After the game, both Anthony and Woodson regretted the play.
“I probably should have taken a timeout at the end,” Woodson said after the game.
Anthony added that he was expecting a timeout to be called. We all were, Carmelo… We all were.
While there are circumstances in which you want them to play through, that was not that situation. The team was not set up to run the ball up the court and the rushed inbound pass clearly confused everyone.
Finally, there was the question of what exactly Anthony was thinking after getting the inbounds pass… Anthony had the ball in his hands with the clock running from 6.9 seconds. As Brian pointed out in the comments below, Woodson still could have called timeouts to advance the ball. After the inbounds pass, he could have used two timeouts which would have brought the ball up but didn’t react. Once this was not done, Anthony’s only choice was to run the court and try to score.
Instead of running the court, Anthony slowly dribbled the ball and took a wild shot halfway between the 3-point arc and half court. It was a pathetic end to what was a truly excellent basketball game.
If the team were winning, we’d take this as a hard fought loss. Five Knicks were in double digits, with Anthony leading the way with 32. J.R. Smith finally found his rhythm, hitting two clutch 3-point shots in the fourth quarter. Even Iman Shumpert found a way to get back into the action with eight points and nine rebounds.
Unfortunately, it was all for naught. The Knicks coughed up the game as time expired, making a number of mental errors both on and off the court and dropping to 7-17 on the season.