New York Knicks Washington Wizards Postgame
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

In a lost season, the New York Knicks dropped a game to the Washington Wizards which seemed impossible for even them to blow. It was yet another troubling sign in a year full of them—one which is thankfully coming to a close.

  • New York Knicks 113 (23-36)
  • Washington Wizards 118 (33-24)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

In what was a fitting end to the portion of the season in which they’ve actually tried to win games, the New York Knicks blew a gigantic lead to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

It was a game that at one point looked like it would be defined by a career-best scoring half from Tim Hardaway Jr., but ended with the Knicks blowing a 27-point first half lead—the team’s largest since such statistics have been recorded. New York once again showed just how far away it is from contending for anything other than a top spot in the lottery.

If that seems harsh, it is. Part of that has to do with just how much this team has teased its fans throughout this gut punch of a season.

There have been times this year when it looked like they were a piece or two away from being considered a team on the rise. The first half, in which New York scored a season-best 72 points, was a microcosm of that promise. It was backed mostly by Hardaway’s 32, which included a scorching hot six of seven from deep, and included smart passing and alert, energetic defense.

Fool’s gold

As usual, with some gentle scrubbing, the sheen rubbed off rather quickly to reveal yet another rock in a decade and a half full of them.

The Wizards managed to do whatever they wanted in the second half, putting up 67 points, many by way of rim runs that were only missing the red carpet and white-gloved ushers.

If there was ever any doubt about how much this team missed Kristaps Porzingis, it was apparent once again tonight. He masked so much of what is missing for this team at both ends that it’s almost difficult to fathom they were once a contender for the playoffs. Lest the Knicks try to get cute with his extension talks this summer, a word of advice: don’t.

As for the Knicks’ other promising young building block, Frank Ntilikina flashed a few nice moves and had two steals in the bafflingly limited time he was on the court. Since approaching his season high in minutes with 31 against Indiana on Sunday, Ntilikina has combined for as many over the last two games, logging just 11 tonight.

The only possible explanation for this – and for fellow youngn’s Damyean Dotson, Luke Kornet,  Trey Burke, and Isaiah Hicks not taking off the warm-ups is that the post-KP injury, pre-All-Star break handful of games was some kind of Custer’s Last Stand for embattled head coach Jeff Hornacek. Little Bighorn would be a favorable outcome for him at this point.

Give the people what they want

Knicks fans are a battle-tested bunch who have suffered through all manner of incompetence, but if you’re going to be bad Jeff, at least give the masses what they want. Perhaps a week off will do the trick.

The Knicks, of course, will now carry an eight-game losing streak into the latter portion of the season as the possibility of making a real run up the lottery standings grows. Yes, every loss – even a soul-wrenching, cataclysmic full-body dry heave like tonight – is a win.

Yet, the Knicks – only the Knicks – can make fans feel bad about something they should, by all accounts, be happy about. Emmanual Mudiay once again showed everyone why we should temper our expectations just a bit for a player Denver could not get out of town fast enough. Enes Kanter reminded us all that for everything he does well, he is in no way capable of anchoring a toy boat, let alone the defense of a professional basketball team. And Michael Beasley – bless his soul – showed fans that if he’s the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions.

It’s all part of the process, which the Knicks must trust because trust is the only option they have. The countdown to the lottery begins in earnest. The season, which has been over for some time, will now officially get handed over to the kids.

Let’s hope they give us something to be encouraged about the rest of the way.



Knicks & NBA all day, every day; @Fansided & @elitesportsny contributor, putting out stuff I'd want to read. “I been hot since May 10, 1983.”