NEW YORK – The Washington Wizards put the New York Knicks in the same kind of hole under Kurt Rambis they kept falling into under Derek Fisher.
John Wall had 28 points and 17 assists, Bradley Beal scored 26, and the Wizards beat New York 111-108 on Tuesday night in the Knicks’ first game under Rambis.
Wall made four free throws in the final 6.6 seconds and the Wizards handed the Knicks their sixth straight loss when Langston Galloway’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was just short after Washington failed to foul intentionally as planned.
“Nobody’s happy. Everybody is kind of depressed that we’re losing,” Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis said. “Now we’ve lost our coach so there’s lots of stuff going on but we try to stay focused. We just have to find a way to get back.”
Washington jumped to a 16-point lead in the first quarter, expecting the Knicks to have extra energy under new leadership.
“That’s what I was telling somebody earlier, that that’s a dangerous team, a team who has a new coach who has a new face so to speak and has a new sense of life,” Beal said. “They can either come out and quit or they can come out and really respond and play well and they did that.”
But not until they were well behind, just as they did in their final few games under Fisher before Phil Jackson decided to make a change.
“It is starting to become kind of habitual right now starting the games off slow,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We can’t give teams 30-plus points in the first quarter, then try to fight back. Once you fight back like we did today, it’s still an uphill battle that you’ve got to fight.”
Anthony had 33 points and 13 rebounds, but the Knicks have dropped 10 of 11.
Porzingis scored 20 points, but just two after his 14-point third quarter.
Wall made the go-ahead basket midway through the fourth, and later added a pair of jumpers before a 3-pointer that seemed to put it away at 106-96 with about 1:50 left.
The Knicks fired Fisher on Monday and appointed Rambis the interim coach through the remainder of the season. Drafted by the Knicks in the third round in 1980, Rambis said for the second straight day that it’s important for the Knicks to get into the playoffs, but that will take a huge turnaround after the All-Star break.
They allowed 63 first-half points, trying their most this season, after Rambis said they had to toughen up their defense.
Spurs 119, Heat 101
In Miami, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points, Kawhi Leonard added 23 and San Antonio got seven points on one possession in the fourth quarter in a win over the Heat.
Danny Green added 15 for the Spurs, who have won six straight over the Heat going back to the 2014 NBA Finals.
Jazz 121, Mavericks 119 (OT)
In Dallas, Gordon Hayward hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer in overtime and Utah extended its season-best winning streak to seven games.
Rodney Hood had a tying 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in regulation as the Jazz ended a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. Their last win on the Mavericks’ home court was Jan. 9, 2010.
Bucks 112, Celtics 111
In Milwaukee, Khris Middleton made one of two free throws with 0.6 seconds left and the Bucks defeated Boston.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley to get to the line. The Celtics had tied the game when Kelly Olynyk made two free throws with one second remaining.
Warriors 123, Rockets 110
In Oakland, Stephen Curry had 35 points, nine assists and six rebounds and Golden State relied on a signature putaway fourth quarter to hold off Houston.
Andrew Bogut added 13 points, 11 rebounds, a season-high six blocked shots — three in the fourth — and three steals in one of his best games yet.