New York Knicks v Washington Wizards
(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks traveled to London to suffer another brutal loss, marking their fifth-straight and 20th in the last 23 games.

For the first three quarters of the NBA London Game, the New York Knicks were in control, opening up a 17-point lead at one point. They kept the Washington Wizards at arm’s length, but they could never really pull away.

The team’s inability to distance themselves allowed the Wizards to creep back into the game and steal it in the final seconds. Down one with 3.3 seconds remaining, Washington inbounded the ball to Bradley Beal. The All-Star shooting guard found Thomas Bryant cutting to the basket. As Bryant floated the ball up to beat the buzzer, Allonzo Trier skied for the block.

But Trier was a split second late and goaltending was called on his last-second rejection. The Knicks had 0.4 seconds left, but the Wizards had everything covered and Emmanuel Mudiay couldn’t get a clean look off.

Unfortunately for those Knicks fans who made the trip to London, the offense was stonewalled in the fourth quarter by the Wizards defense. After scoring 89 through the first three quarters, the Knicks were held to just 11 points in the final frame.

At the start of the game, Kenny Albert likened the atmosphere to an All-Star Game, but it certainly didn’t look like one. The Wizards were out of sync for most of the game and Bradley Beal didn’t really find his stroke until the fourth quarter. He finished with 26 points on 29 shots. But he did score nine points in the fourth quarter to help spur the comeback.

The Wizards didn’t look great and the two sides were evenly matched for most of the game. The biggest meta-game or “game within the game” was easy to see in the fourth quarter. The Knicks offense was stagnant and they stopped moving the ball. The Knicks finished with 15 assists compared to the Wizards’ 23.

Despite the brutal end result, a few Knicks turned in positive performances. Emmanuel Mudiay, despite his five turnovers, carried the Knicks offense for most of the game. Mudiay finished with 25 points and seven rebounds.

Mitchell Robinson only played 10 minutes in his first game back since Dec. 14, but he made his presence known with a few highlight reel plays.

Luke Kornet was excellent with four three-pointers in the first half, but he only scored two points in the second half. He finished with 16 points, but perhaps more impressively, he finished the night with a career-high five steals.

Noah Vonleh, steady as ever, posted a double-double and his trade value has to be on the rise. He may not be with the Knicks for long, but he is undoubtedly their best player right now.

That’s part of what might make Knicks fans shudder. The Knicks have lost 20 of their last 23 games and it could be in the franchise’s best interest to trade away their best player. That’s good news for fans who are rooting on the tank, but it’s bad news for anyone interested in watching compelling basketball.

It’s possible to glean some positives from this game. It’s another close game for young players to learn from. Head coach David Fizdale’s squad was placed in an unfamiliar environment and for three quarters, they were excellent. Fizdale will cite the team’s growth and willingness to compete.

But the fourth quarter collapse to the flawed Wizards will make that international flight home feel that much longer. Player development comes before winning this season, but sooner or later the young guys need to start closing these games out.

The NBA schedule makers aren’t doing the Knicks any favors either. The team is off until Monday, but New York’s next five games come against current playoff teams. As a result, this five-game losing streak could turn even uglier.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.