The Knicks fueled a comeback in the fourth quarter against John Wall and the Washington Wizards, but silly turnovers and fouls persisted for the younger team, and New York fell short in D.C.

Fears turned to reality as the New York Knicks (3-7) gave the ailing Washington Wizards (2-7) a free game to build their confidence. While there were some bright spots, the majority of the game had the Knicks playing catch up.

Let’s look at the key factors manufacturing the loss.


Turnovers

The Knicks gave up the ball 18 times in 48 minutes. John Wall, boasting five steals, and his companions took advantage of the Knicks sloppy play early on. Second-year point guard Frank Ntilikina’s youth showed as he accrued four turnovers over the course of the game. Although the Knicks outscored the Wizards on points off turnovers 22-19, it couldn’t save them in the end.

Fouls

While there were some questionable calls made by the referees, the Knickerbockers largely made their own bed tonight. They allowed Washington to shoot 30-of-39 from the free throw line and failed to get there more than 16 times—less than half of the home team. The squads were both abysmal and shy from the three-point line Sunday tonight, and with that part of the game neutralized, free-throw shooting was magnified. For a large part of the game, the Wizards and the Knicks were neck-and-neck when it came to stifling defense, but the younger team eventually broke down, growing more apathetic as the game wore on.

Backcourt Play

It took them awhile to get it going, but Bradley Beal and John Wall both eventually tore the Knicks apart. Ntilikina, the Knicks’ best perimeter defender was tenacious as always, but the two All-Star-caliber players proved too much for even him at times. The duo ended the night on a combined 16-of-30 shooting. The Knicks own backcourt of second-year wings Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson shot 8-of-18. A lower clip and a lower percentage is a pretty easy way to lose the backcourt battle.

The fake comeback led by Emmanuel Mudiay seemed legitimate at first, since he and Mario Hezonja somehow found a way to thrive with fellow benchmate Enes Kanter, but it became apparent in the fourth quarter that their success would be short-lived. Fizdale, as usual, failed to substitute back in the starters in time to thwart the Wizards from getting hot, leading to the fourth quarter completely spiraling out of the Knicks’ control.

In essence, the Knicks were playing so bad that Mudiay was subbed in, but he played so well that he was subbed out until the Knicks played so bad again that they subbed him back in. It was like the reverse of when LeBron James rests on the bench. What occurred was a frustrating and embarrassing four quarters not unlike the Knicks teams of years past, where they played down to the competition. That brings us to the most painful takeaway of the season so far:

Iso Zo and Mitchell Robinson highlights are fun, but they won’t be winning us any games.