WASHINGTON — Unhappy with the ease Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks were having on offense, Wizards coach Scott Brooks let his team have it at halftime.
“Our mindset needed to be adjusted a little bit,” Brooks said.
Mindset adjusted, the Wizards clamped down in the third quarter and went on to roll over the short-handed Knicks 117-101 on Tuesday night to win their fifth in a row and tie for first place in the Southeast Division.
Bradley Beal went shot for shot with Anthony and scored 28 points as Washington won for the 11th time in 13 games overall and extended its home winning streak to 15.
“We weren’t playing our type of defense, our type of game,” said Beal, who shot 12 of 18. “We were still winning, but we weren’t happy with our focus and our energy on the floor. In the third quarter we just played with aggression.”
Markieff Morris scored 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting and John Wall had 15 points to go along with 13 assists. Anthony finished with 26 but only nine after halftime as the Wizards’ suddenly trademark defense took hold.
The Wizards opened the third quarter on a 16-2 run as New York committed turnovers and missed six consecutive shots to fall behind by 19. Playing their second consecutive game without Derrick Rose because of a sprained left ankle and missing Kristaps Porzingis, who was a late scratch with an illness, the Knicks couldn’t mount any response to one of the NBA’s hottest teams.
“I think we came out flat in that second half, and we didn’t seem to kind of get the energy and momentum back after they made their run and made their push,” said Anthony, who shot 10 of 17.
The Wizards led by 15 after three frames and never relented, allowing the team’s core to get some much-needed rest. Wall and Morris played a team-high 34 minutes apiece, while Beal played 32. Wall averaged 36.3 minutes per game in January, which included a five-game stretch in which he played at least 37 minutes in each contest. He averaged 35.7 minutes in November, then a whopping 37.1 minutes in December.
Six players scored in double figures for the Wizards, who tied the Golden State Warriors by winning 12 games in January. Only the defending Western Conference champions are hotter than Washington, which is now tied with the Atlanta Hawks atop the Southeast Division.
“We’re just going out there and playing basketball, playing basketball that we know we’re capable of playing and every night going out there and giving it our all,” said Kelly Oubre, who had 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting while playing 28 minutes.
As good as the first month of 2017 was to the Wizards, it wasn’t so kind to the Knicks, who went 5-12.
“Goodbye January,” Anthony said. “I don’t think people understand how tough it is, but we’re not complaining about that, though. To have 17, 18 games and five sets of back-to backs. You got to find it every night.”
Held without a point in the first half, Wizards forward Otto Porter scored 10 in the third quarter before spending the fourth on a stationary bike to keep his right hip loose. He went 5-for-9 from the field and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
“He got some looks,” Brooks said. “Some nights he’s not going to have the looks like he’s going to have other nights, but I thought he just stayed with it, ran his routes, got to the spots and then John did a good job of finding him in the third quarter.”
Porzingis’ absence wasn’t announced until about 20 minutes before tipoff. Coach Jeff Hornacek said the Latvian big man wasn’t feeling well on the way to the arena but tried to play.
Knicks: Shot 36.6 percent. … Lee has shot 6 of 25 in three games against the Wizards, all losses. … G Brandon Jennings scored 21 points but shot 5 of 16.
Wizards: Their home win streak is tied for the second-longest in franchise history. The Bullets won 22 consecutive games at home in 1974-75. … C Marcin Gortat was a perfect 7 of 7 with 15 points. … Wall’s double-double was his 28th of the season and Gortat’s his 27th.
Knicks: Visit the Brooklyn Nets in the second half of their back-to-back series Wednesday.
Wizards: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
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