On December second, the Washington Wizards reached .500 for the first time in 2013-14, this was the latest Washington had been at .500 since the Gilbert Arenas era, and proved to be a major vote of confidence. Since then, however, the Wizards hadn’t won a single game dropping their last four contests. The Wizards lost their first three games by a combined seven points, and after starting strong without shooting guard Bradley Beal, the Wizards have not closed the deal in recent games, and had blown several late-game leads. This all came to a halt Monday night, as Beal returned from his lower body injury and led Washington to a come from behind victory against the New York Knicks. This was Washington’s first win since 2006 within Madison Square Garden, and it took Beal’s heroics to do so.
Dec 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) works against New York Knicks point guard Beno Udrih (18) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Washington Wizards defeat the New York Knicks 102-101. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Washington dominated the first half of basketball, as John Wall, Martell Webster, and Beal got in transition leading to a 53-42 halftime lead. The Wizards extended their lead into the third quarter with consistent all-around play. The advantage, however, slipped away in the fourth quarter as Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith hit a series of big shots to seize a 100-97 edge. Then, it was “Beal Time” as the second-year player first knotted the score at 100. After a Washington foul, Beno Udrich put the Knicks back in front when he hit one of two free throws. Once again, it was all Bradley Beal as he beat his defender and finished with an easy layup, and a Washington Wizards 102-101 victory.
The win finally snapped the team’s longest losing streak of the season and eased some of the pressure of off point guard John Wall. It’s essential the Wizards utilize the struggles of the rest of the conference by distancing themselves from the competition surrounding them. Washington has the potential to be a very high seed in the weak Eastern Conference, and with Bradley Beal back, it’s about time they start to play like it.