There must not have been enough magic in Carmelo Anthony's hats for the Knicks to find a win on Christmas Day. The team's losing streak reached six games with a 102-91 loss to the visiting Washington Wizards on Thursday afternoon. It is the Knicks third extended losing streak of the year, having runs of seven and ten losses already. The loss was the Knicks eighth straight at home.
There was little the Knicks (5-26) could do to stop Washington's point guard John Wall, who had his way with the Knicks older, slower, point guards. Washington jumped out to a nine-point lead three minutes into the contest and stretched it to 10 midway through the first quarter. Wall led the way with nine points and six assists in the period.
Despite 12 points from Carmelo Anthony, the Wizards led by nine at the end of one. Anthony continued to score, adding nine more points in the second quarter, but it wasn't enough to stop the Wizards from expanding their lead to 16 at 60-44 at the half.
The lead ballooned to 22 in the third at 66-44 on a Bradley Beal jump shot on a feed from Wall, who finished with 24 points and 11 assists in 36 minutes. Anthony would pace the Knicks with 34, but the Knicks would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
With 5:31 left in the game, Knicks forward Quincy Acy leveled Wall with a hard foul that sent him to the floor. Wall jumped up and pushed Acy, who grabbed Wall and threw what appeared to be a punch with his right hand. The blow glanced off Wall's left shoulder and connected with Nene's stomach. Officials reviewed the skirmish, and while Wall was issued a technical foul, Acy was ejected from the game.
After the game, Acy and Coach Fisher tried to downplay the incident. "I didn't throw a punch. I got up and reacted, then I just grabbed him," Acy explained. The league will undoubtedly review the footage and decide if the ejection was sufficient punishment, or if the encounter warrants a suspension.
If Acy is forced to miss time, it will only leave the Knicks further short-handed. The team will close out 2014 with a brutal West coast road trip beginning Saturday in Sacramento, passing through Portland, the number two team in the West, and finish on New Year's Eve in Los Angeles against the Clippers. It's likely the Knicks could close the calendar year on a nine game losing streak.
Six Wizards scored in double figures, with Beal finishing with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Kris Humphries adding 14 points off the bench. Collectively, they shot 51 percent from the field and out-rebounded New York, 45-36, with 13 coming on the offensive glass.
J.R. Smith, the Knicks mercurial shooting guard, who had missed the previous seven games with a tear in the plantar fascia in his left foot, warmed up prior to the game but was ruled out prior to the start. He was joined on the sideline by Iman Shumpert and Cleanthony Early, who are also recovering from injuries, and forward Andrea Bargnani, who has yet to play this season.
The absence of Smith and Shumpert continues to plague New York. The Knicks shot 4-of-22 (.182%) from three-point territory and were outscored, 21-12, from beyond the arc. It was the eighth straight game the Knicks failed to outscore their opponent from three. It's been two weeks since Shumpert dislocated his shoulder, and he was seen going through a light shooting workout before the game. No timeline has been announced for his return.