The Wizards published their second-lowest point overall of the season Friday night, as they lost an unsightly one to the Knicks 109-91 without Bradley Beal.

With the loss, the Wizards fall to 6-17 on the year, which is excellent for the third-worst record in the NBA.

It turns out, trying to score with the NBA’s leading scorer on the floor is hard. Without Bradley Beal, who’s great for over 30 points a night, the Wizards needed to generally ditch for every bucket they had Friday night. It assisted that they had a nine-time All-Star in Russell Westbrook directing traffic, but versus an excellent Knicks defense, the Wizards went through a couple of dry stretches in this video game.

The “Ewing Theory” uses to groups that inexplicably play much better when their finest player isn’t in. The 1999 Knicks started the pattern when they made it to the NBA Finals without the star center, and since, the name stuck. These Wizards do not certify as a “Ewing Theory” group. They need Beal to win video games and nights like these add to his All-Star, All-NBA and MVP cases.

We have actually seen what the Wizards look like with Bradley Beal and no Russell Westbrook, however Friday was the very first time the reverse occurred.

Without the NBA’s leading scorer playing next to him, Westbrook was attacking from the opening pointer and working to get his teammates open shots. He completed with 23 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and for quite much the entire game was Washington’s only genuine source of offense.

Westbrook had actually been going for pull-up jumpers far frequently just recently, so it was great to see him breaking down the defense and then kicking it to open Wizards shooters. The shots simply have not been falling for this team from 3-point land. The very best version of the Wizards will include Westbrook putting consistent pressure on the rim.

If there was a team for the Wizards to have a great night defensively versus, the Knicks had to be towards the top of that list. They came into Friday’s game with the fifth-worst offense in the NBA. They do not have a lot of shooting, their primary playmakers are young and unskilled, and they run pretty much everything through Julius Randle.

All due regard to Randle– he’s having a career year and playing fantastic– but if he’s your No. 1 alternative, it doesn’t precisely bode well for your offense.

Still, the Wizards had a hard time to get stops in this game. The Knicks controlled within, scoring 58 points in the paint, capitalized off of 14 Wizards turnovers and appeared comfy in an area of the video game they have not been good all season. When the Wizards protect, they can have fun with anyone. It just hasn’t took place much this season.

Head coach Scott Brooks had the rare responsibility of filling Beal’s area in the starting lineup, so he chose second-year sharpshooter Fort Mathews. Mathews has actually been on a two-way agreement through his very first 2 years in the NBA but has actually really carved out a function for himself this season. He plays hard, spaces the flooring and delivers periodic postgame wisdom after a hard loss.

Brooks rewarded him for his deal with Friday night and he did precisely what his head coach wanted. He tore down a couple of 3-pointers and flew around on the defensive end, getting two blocks in a five-minute period throughout the third quarter.

Mathews has actually earned a regular spot in the Wizards’ rotation and probably a place in their future strategies. Eventually, the NBA service time on his two-way contract will run out, so it’ll be fascinating to see how the group plays it. As of now, the Wizards would need to cut somebody to convert Mathews’ contract to a full-time, surefire offer.

Friday marked the fifth-straight game the Wizards have actually shot 30% or even worse on their 3-pointers after going 9-for-34 from deep against New York.

The Wizards’ offense is constructed on spacing the defense, whipping the ball around the boundary and knocking down shots from beyond the arc. So it’s not a surprise to see Washington battle to score like they have when those appearances aren’t falling.

It might be fatigue, as the Wizards start a jam-packed February schedule after going 2 weeks without playing due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Or, it could simply be a brief blip in the schedule where they can’t purchase anything from downtown. In any case, it’s a problem that requires to be repaired earlier rather than later, particularly with the method this group defends.