Like the last time the Wizards were in Madison Square Garden, they had to gut out a tight fourth-quarter to win their second game in a row and beat the New York Knicks for the third time this season. It also marks the first season sweep for Washington in 29 years.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards (40-36) with 28 points on 12-for-22 shooting, five rebounds and two steals. On Dec. 16, after returning from a nine-game absence, Beal scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter that included a three-point shot and the game-winning layup.
This time, Beal was being denied the three-point shot, where he only was 1-for-8, but kept his dribble alive, stepped inside of Marcin Gortat's screen, past Iman Shumpert and drained the mid-range jumper over the challenges of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler with 23 seconds left. Beal scored 19 points in the second half, with 13 coming in the fourth quarter when he made 5 of 7 shots.
The Knicks (33-44) had a final shot but Trevor Ariza disrupted the hand-off from Raymond Felton to Anthony, who lost the ball as he drove to the paint. J.R Smith, who led all scorers with 32 points that included eight made three-pointers, collected the loose ball but was forced to take an off-balance heave at the buzzer that wasn't close.
John Wall contributed 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting and nine assists. Marcin Gortat was a major factor in the first half as he finished with 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting and 10 rebounds.
The Wizards are 20-19 on the road, the first time they've reached 20 wins there since the 1981-82 season.
Turning point: After Smith gave the Knicks the lead 67-64 entering the fourth quarter, the Wizards' reserves, who didn't perform well in the second quarter, got them out on the right track and regained the lead 85-82 on a jump shot by Martell Webster late. Game officials reviewed the shot at the next break in action and determined Webster didn't beat the shot clock which whittled the lead to one but they had the momentum when the starters returned.
Key stats: The Wizards were just 5-for-19 on threes, 26.5%, but shot 38-for-78 overall for 48.7%. ... The Wizards had a 38-22 edge in paint points.
Stonewall: Ariza only scored 10 points on 3 of 9 shots, but his defense on Anthony -- and of course, he had a lot of help -- was spectacular. Ariza held one of the NBA's most lethal scorers to 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Anthony didn't score in the second half until he knocked down a jump shot at 4:32 of the fourth.
From the locker room: "It was a physical war out there tonight. As I told our guys, 'This is one of those games you're going to face in the playoffs.' Referees let the guys decide the game. It was physical. We stuck around, hung in there. The second quarter, we just totally lost pace of the game. That's our Achilles heel when we begin to walk the ball up the floor. We lose all of our momentum. ... We got it back in the third quarter. John got us going again with the pace." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
"I didn't shoot the ball well in the first half. I think I forced a lot of shots trying to get a quick rhythm. In the second half I was more patient. I was able to come out hot. I just stayed with it. ... We love playing on the road. When you've got a great arena like this, so many fans, just the history behind it, the Knicks, it's a great team that's trying to make the playoffs. It was a great game. For us to be able to sweep this team, this means a lot for us but we still got unfinished business." -- Beal
"It's tough when a team has a foul to give. You draw a play up, then you have no timeouts left. Hats off to them." -- Felton on the Wizards fouling with 12 seconds left, forcing Knicks to reset and inbound again
"He just came up with a good play to be honest." -- Chandler on Beal's final shot
Up next: The Wizards return to D.C. immediately after the game and will play the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN,+. 7 p.m. ET).