Beal, Wizards rally from 27 points down to beat Knicks
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By JEFFREY BERNSTEIN
NEW YORK (AP) His team had just completed the biggest comeback of the NBA season, but Bradley Beal wasn't feeling great about it.
Beal scored 36 points, and the Washington Wizards overcame a 27-point deficit to beat the slumping New York Knicks 118-113 on Wednesday night.
"It's twofold because you never want to be down in a game, but it's great that we won. I guess it is something we can be proud of," Beal said. "We won the game, but we still can't come out with that type of focus and energy we had because it could have gotten ugly. We could have been down 30 or 40 if we didn't turn it on."
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 37 points - 32 in the first half - to lead the Knicks, who've lost a season-worst eight straight and are 0-4 since losing All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to a season-ending knee injury. Enes Kanter added 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Before Wednesday night, the largest comeback win of the season was produced by the Celtics, who rallied from 26 points down to beat the Rockets 99-98 on Dec. 28.
The Wizards trailed 68-41 following Hardaway's pullup jumper with 2:56 left before halftime.
"It was like coaching two different teams tonight, a first-half team and a second-half team," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "I prefer the second-half team."
Washington went on a 42-15 run that spanned about 11 1/2 minutes of the second and third quarters, tying it at 83 with 3:32 left in the third.
Markieff Morris' 3-pointer about two minutes later gave Washington its first lead since he made the game's first basket.
"I didn't want to lose before the (All-Star) break," Beal said. "We did a good job of coming around. Coach gave us a good pep talk at halftime. It lite a fire."
The Wizards shot 77.2 percent (17 of 22) from the field in that third quarter and outscored the Knicks 39-15 to take a 90-87 lead into the fourth. The Knicks, who shot 63 percent (29 of 46) in the first half, managed only 21.7 percent (5 of 23) in the third quarter.
New York reclaimed the lead for the final time, 94-93, on Courtney Lee's jumper with 9:41 left in the game. Washington led for good after Porter's jumper with 6:27 remaining and pulled ahead by as many as eight on three occasions in the final minutes.
"This is really tough, especially going into the break," Hardaway said. "They were down 27 and we had an opportunity to close the door and go into the break with a great mindset. It sucks to let this one go like that. It's frustrating. It's embarrassing."
Morris finished with 13 points, and Tomas Satoransky had 11 assists.
Michael Beasley scored 16 for the Knicks.
Wizards: Washington has scored at least 100 points in 10 straight games, going 7-3 during that stretch.
Knicks: Hardaway entered the game having made only five of his previous 44 3-point attempts. He made his first five attempts on Wednesday night. ... The Knicks have reached the 100-point plateau just twice during their skid.
Washington has won eight straight against the Knicks and 15 of the last 16 in the series, including eight in a row at Madison Square Garden. New York's last home victory over Washington was on April 9, 2013.
HAVEN'T HIT THE WALL
The Wizards have gone 7-2 without All-Star John Wall, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Jan. 31. Washington has recorded at least 26 assists in eight of its last nine games.
The Knicks played their first game at the current Madison Square Garden exactly 50 years ago. On February 14, 1968, New York posted a 114-102 victory over the San Diego Rockets in the second game of a doubleheader. Boston defeated Detroit 118-96 in the opener, with the Pistons' Dave DeBusschere (who later played for New York) scoring the arena's first point on a free throw.
Wizards: Visit Cleveland next Thursday.
Knicks: At Orlando next Thursday.
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Updated February 14, 2018