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Knicks 128, Wizards 122

It wasn't the same story line, but it was the same ending. The problem for the Wizards most of this season has been their inability to get clutch baskets down the stretch. But the New York Knicks ushered them to the basket and laid out a buffet table of open jumpers most of Wednesday night. The Wizards just couldn't get stops - or better yet, rebounds.

The Knicks had more offensive rebounds (19) than the Wizards had defensive rebounds (17) and recorded 25 second-chance points. In a game decided by just six points, that's the difference in the game right there.

"Our problem tonight was not scoring. Our problem tonight was defending and rebounding," Wizards Coach Ed Tapscott said. "If you can't procure the ball, your defense isn't very good."

Knicks forward David Lee had 10 rebounds, with six coming off the offensive glass. Former Wizard Jared Jeffries also had five offensive rebounds. "It seemed that it came from anywhere. We just couldn't get the rebound when it counted," Tapscott said.

Part of the problem was the Wizards went with a small lineup, with Antawn Jamison playing heavy stretches at center and Dominic McGuire going at power forward. Tapscott said he had to go to that lineup because when the Wizards had Andray Blatche or JaVale McGee on the floor, the Knicks spread the floor and bombarded them from three-point range. The Knicks hit 14 of 26 three-point attempts.

The Knicks really love playing the Wizards this season. They are averaging 121.3 points in the three meeting, with the fourth and final meeting Friday at Verizon Center.

Nick Young continued to be a flammable object. He scored a career-high 33 points, one game after scoring a career-high 30 points against Milwaukee, three games after scoring a career-high 28 points in Chicago. He is in a really good groove right now, and you can just see his confidence growing every time he touches the ball.

His past four games, Young has made 43 of 60 shot attempts (71.7 percent). Good gracious. "It's all about confidence, getting more plays called for me," Young said. "Being able to do what I do and getting the green light out there, that means a lot to me, being a scorer. Just having the coaches believe in me. I'm just going with the flow right now."

Too bad his team isn't. This is the sixth loss in a row for the local five. Seven-and-31. Who thought they'd see that record in October?

By Michael Lee  |  January 14, 2009; 11:41 PM ET
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Tapscott said he had to go to that lineup because when the Wizards had Andray Blatche or JaVale McGee on the floor, the Knicks bombarded them from three-point range.

What does the center have to do with how the 3-point shooters shoot? David Lee wasn't launching 3s out there, so what did Blatche/McGee have to do with it? I'm not getting it. Tap has the weirdest explanations for stuff of any coach I've ever seen.

Posted by: keithward64 | January 15, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Yep the only problem is the clutch baskets, once Gilbert comes back, all those close losses will turn into wins and we will be a championship team. No need to make any trades, just keep everything the way it is and all will be all right when Gilbert comes back.

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 15, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert is not coming back 100%...
Maybe 75% tops and with 2 years of rust...
$111 million certainly seems like a bargain!

Posted by: jimmydeanroundsausages | January 15, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

This team needs Haywood back as much as Arenas.

A big part of the problem is that this team only has one other true center right now -- and he's a rookie.

Songaila and Blatche are good players, but neither is a natural fit at center.

Posted by: JPRS | January 15, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

It's not clear why Tapscott thinks playing Andray leads to the Knicks getting open 3s. But one thing that is clear is that NOT playing Andray leads to the Knicks getting uncontested offensive rebounds, layups and dunks.

The Knicks ran a pick and roll for David Lee the final 10 possessions of the game and we made absolutely no adjustment.

Posted by: what5 | January 15, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Caron is already talking about how he has trouble getting up for games. There is still 1/2 the season left! We have 40 games remaining, not 10!

Posted by: twigmuffin | January 15, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

To add insult to injury, has anyone noticed what Roger Mason is doing in San Antonio?

Talk about getting out at the right time...

Posted by: p1funk | January 15, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Did not watch the game, looking at the stats I would think the team that shot 46-77 59.7% from the field, 10-14 71.4 % 3 point shots, 20-23 87.0% free throws would usually win the game? Larry they need to play some defense, we need BTH!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | January 15, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

I've noticed what Roger is doing in SA. I've also noticed that some of the same resident experts on this site that ripped Roger on here the last two year still want to dispense their "expert" opinion.

The Wizards' gaurd play has been horrible this year, other the Crittenton and Young showing signs of life lately it's been really bad.

Dixon can't get enough consistant run to become anywhere near consistant on the floor. That's one of those chicken or the egg riddles with Juan.

Right now I'd begin to Critt and Young steady minutes. They've got a future and they're playing well now.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 15, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, Keithinator. We should have kept either AB or JM out there on the floor. I watched the game and I think Ab scored the first 6 points of the game. Then he doesn't get his number called again so that we can play small ball?
Any team that shoots a lot of threes has a chance to upset any other team. The Knicks beat the Celts, after all. But we need to start playing our game and forcing teams to adjust to us. If they're spreading us out with smaller players, pound them inside. As far as rebounding goes, we remember that Jeffries was always good at offensive rebounding. Keith Lee is one of the best rebounders in the league. We should expect to struggle a little bit there.

One of the keys to this team winning is having a third scorer on floor beside Cb and Aj. I've been saying that they should take the restrictor plate off Mike James cuz his game seems to have changed since Tap got a hold of him. Now it appears that NY is the one.
Why he isn't starting alongside CB and AJ is beyond me. The solution to the scoring problem is staring us in the face. Dm was a good try but he isn't doing enough to warrant continuing to start. If he was giving me 10-12 rebounds and harassing defense, sure. But he's not. His presence reduces the game to 4 on 5 offensively and we can't afford that.

This team could be scary good on offense next year with Gil, Cb, NY and Aj in the lineup. The problem might be rebounding because we're small.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Quote: "Tapscott said he had to go to that lineup because when the Wizards had Andray Blatche or JaVale McGee on the floor, the Knicks spread the floor and bombarded them from three-point range."

Everyday this guy continues to coach the Wizards reduces their chances of being a contender next year.

Lawyers are good communicators, but somebody needs to tell them what the strategy is that they need to communicate. Where's EG?

Posted by: Izman | January 15, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

And I want to dispel the myth that smallish teams can't play defense. Quick swarming defenses work, as well. In fact it's a lot easier to trap and double with smallish guys doing the trapping and swarming. We don't have the desire to play defense.
With the right coach, the players that we presently have should be able to win 40+ games. We have talent. I look at NY as another validation of EG's ability to evaluate talent.
We have the pieces that EJ needed to score points in his system. Now we need a real coach to come in here and figure out what he wants to do so we can tailor our style to what we'll be doing in the future.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Fire Ernie shirts

Email for free shirt

Send mailing address and tell America Ernie is a very bad, and sad general manager.

Posted by: erniegone | January 15, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

"The problem for the Wizards most of this season has been their inability to get clutch baskets down the stretch."

Ok, tell Mike James that he should NOT be taking those bricks at the end of the game. He's a bigtime ballhog and he's just here temporarily.

Secondly, get a coach that can coach defense and the Wiz will improve. Again, yelling "play defense" from the bench isn't going to cut it.

Also Taps whining about it to the media after the game is pretty whimpy. Seems to me he's just trying to save his own butt from looking bad.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 15, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Time to repeat myself again. Our cornerstones are undersized so we need to play at a quick pace. AJ should NEVER play C. We lost last night but the pace at which we played would benefit us against most teams. The Knicks just happen to be one of those teams that can keep up with it and have lots of long range bombers. Most teams would not be able to. We have fast, talented scorer types.

Run. MJ,NY,CB,AJ,AB are a faster lineup than just about any in the league. Run.

Critt, Jm, JD and DM are a pretty fast second team.

What we're doing isn't workin'.

At this point we should be looking to entertain the fans at the very least. We're obviously not working toward the future or working on defense so why not at least give us a play or two per night that we can look forward to.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Explain to me how this is Ernie's fault? Like he went out there and told that clumsy baffoon Wallace to roll into gil's knees or something. Its not Ernie, its Kornheiser's Curse!!!

Posted by: CBell29 | January 15, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Almost 50% of defense is securing the ball. Tapscott has bought into Eddie Jordan's practice of playing small ball down the stretch so second and third shots are killing the Wiz.

The Wizards have blown 14 4th quarter leads so far this year. Small ball has played a role in them all.

Jamison at center in crunch time? The coach should be fired, the assistant coaches should be fired, the trainer, the ball boys, all should be fired! And if the Wiz were at home, any usher within 100' of the bench should go to!

Small Ball is a cancer on this team that has to be destroyed! Some people may get hurt in the process, but it has to be done.

Just a couple of games ago McGee got out on a three point shooter and blocked a three ball. He's athletic enough to guard any 4 or 5 that took him into space.

But Lee wasn't on the perimeter, the Knicks ran a quick pick and roll to get the switch.THE WIZ ALWAYS SWITCH! And then Lee had a guard trying to keep him off the boards.

Once that's setup why not fire the three? If the Knicks miss Lee's got a 75% chance to get the offensive rebound.

You can't defend the pick and roll the same way every time, teams will run it just to get the switch and then post the guard or crash the boards on him.

Jones-y, this is why a switch in coaching is needed at the All Star break. A high school coach could see this from the bench without the benefit of film, advance scouting etc.

NBA level players deserve an NBA level coach.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 15, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Yeah really, GM. How many times did Tap need to see Mike James on Lee before he figured out what they were doing?

I know Tap is an interim guy but he's not even the right person to do that for us. Ayers? You on board? I would think that since this team is in need of defense, it would make sense to make a defensive guy the interim coach, anyway. This gives next years permanent coach a team that has been concentrating on defense for half a season.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

If you get rebounds, you keep the ball. If you keep the ball you don't have to worry about the other team scoring three pointers. They also start to worry about what happens when they miss the three pointers and not take them so often. To get rebounds if you keep your bigs in there.

Posted by: browneri | January 15, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Tapscott has bought into Eddie Jordan's practice of playing small ball down the stretch so second and third shots are killing the Wiz.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Tapscott is, quite frankly, in over his head. Right now, with all the injuries, we don't have the talent to be a .500 team, but we shouldn't be losing game after game, either. His small-ball obsession fails game after game after game. Will he ever learn?

Posted by: keithward64 | January 15, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Tapscott has squelched my desire to watch a single game.

They sit on my Tivo, and I don't even bother.

SERIOUSLY? I was up for giving him a shot, but he's destroying what's left of the Wiz. I'm not asking for a great record, but the attitude and what we hear of the coaching is ridiculous.

I'm not sure who said it, but I agree--NBA players deserve a NBA coach!

Posted by: lindaloulubbock | January 15, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Back in the "stone ages" the NBA required man to man defense (or man to man with "zone tendencies".) Players had to learn to defend the "pick and roll" against most teams (I'm not sure that the Wiz are familiar with that play on either offense or defense.) Outside shooters had to be accompanied, or at least the assigned person (who may or may not be considered a "defender") had to be between the outside person and the basket.
Most of those guys learned defense in college. Perhaps that is a problem with the early entries.

Posted by: lrmc623 | January 15, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe Chirs Duhon, someone who was labeled 'couldn't shoot" is shooting 42.6% (41.6% for 3-pt) and averaged 12.3 points for the Knicks. He was shooting just 29% last season!

Wizards have consistently loosing the 3-pt battle against the opponents (they shot less at a worse %). Up until now this season, they made 193 3-ointers while opponents made 301! Maybe Wizards ought to send their shooter to play to D'antoni and learn how to shoot (which includes how to create opportunity to get open, high-percentage shots).

Posted by: sagaliba | January 15, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Vast Improvement!

Wizzies double their usual 4th Q scoring.

When we score we can't get stops---
When we get stops we can't score.

What to do, what to do?????

Posted by: VBFan | January 15, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Good to see NY find his groove. A positive development in an otherwise depressing season...

Posted by: MEssex | January 15, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I missed the game, but after reading "the Wizards went with a small line-up" I didn't need to read much more to understand why they lost. Did Etap see EJ last game as coach. I believe he got let go was because he played DS at the center for most of the game and couldn't get a rebound. I guess Etap didn't learn from EJ.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | January 15, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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