The Washington Wizards went into Madison Square Garden and handed the Knicks their 17th loss this season, 102-101, after the just-returned-from-injury Bradley Beal drove for the winning layup with under 10 seconds remaining. The Knicks failed to take a timeout after the play — even though they had three — and Carmelo Anthony‘s lunging three-pointer to win it didn’t even draw iron.
Beal matched up against Beno Udrih with the clock ticking under 10 (the Knicks are already missing Ray Felton and Pablo Prigioni went down in the third quarter with a hairline fracture in his right big toe). You can see Udrih motioning that he’s shading Beal baseline, thinking one of his teammates — Woodson later confirmed it was supposed to be Andrea Bargnani — would rotate over. Nope, never happened, easy Beal lay-in as he scored 21 points on the night.
“We knew we had a foul to give,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said afterward. “But Beno opened the flood gates. It happened so fast. He was thinking the help was there and it wasn’t there. So he couldn’t even reach to grab the guy, to take the foul. But that’s where the breakdown occurred. We all knew we had a foul to give, but we didn’t get a chance to use it.”
But the biggest blunder probably came after Beal’s game-winning layup. That’s when Carmelo Anthony raced the ball up the right side of the court, drawing a double-team in the process, before his running, one-footed attempt at the win clanged helplessly off the backboard. Normally, down one point with 6.9 seconds left in the game, you call a timeout and set up a play. Woodson admitted as much after the game:
“I probably should have taken for sure the timeout there at the end,” Woodson said. “Beno grabbed it and the ball was in Melo’s hands before I could even react, and I should have reacted a lot sooner once the ball went through the bucket. So that’s on me.”
“That’s a tough way to lose a game,” Anthony said after scoring 32 points on 12-for-20 shooting. “If [Woodson] said it’s his fault, there’s no need for me to make excuses or talk about it. As players, we have to be smarter. We knew we had timeouts. I was just trying to get a shot.”
“We’ve got to do a better job as players. We knew we had three timeouts. We’ve got guys who have been in the league 11, 10 years on the floor and we’ve just got to do a better job of that. We can’t put everything in coach’s hands because he’s out there thinking and reacting like we are. We’ve got to do a better job as players, and be generals out there.”
A source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told ESPN New York last week that Woodson is being evaluated on a “game-by-game basis” by upper management.
What do you think?
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