Narrow defeat dims Knicks' playoff hopes
New York Knicks shooting guard Iman Shumpert (21) and Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) and power forward Drew Gooden (90) scramble for a loose ball during the fourth quarter of a game. Photo by Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
NEW YORK - The New York Knicks' NBA playoff hopes took a knock on Friday as the Washington Wizards held on for a 90-89 triumph at Madison Square Garden.
Washington's Bradley Beal scored 28 points, including the game-winning jump shot with 22.9 seconds to play, for a Wizards team that have already booked their first post-season berth since 2008.
Raymond Felton's three-pointer with 33.5 seconds remaining had given the Knicks an 89-88 advantage.
But Beal restored Washington's lead by eluding Iman Shumpert out of a timeout and draining a pull-up jumper.
The Knicks took a timeout and put the ball in Carmelo Anthony's hands, but the All-Star lost the ball on his drive.
J.R. Smith, who led the Knicks with 32 points, managed to get the ball, but couldn't get his three-point attempt to fall at the buzzer.
"We got stops and we played the right way," said John Wall, who had 19 points and nine assists for the Wizards. "We made it tough on those guys."
Anthony finished with a season-low 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting for the Knicks, who fell one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
"I wish I would have played better," Anthony said.
In Atlanta, Mike Scott scored 26 points and Jeff Teague added 20 points and 12 assists to lead the Hawks to a convincing 117-98 victory over Cleveland.
"Every game is a must win now. Going to every game it is a must win for us. We have to play like it," Teague said.
The Hawks notched just their eighth win in their last 29 games and have seven games left in the regular season -- two more than the Knicks.
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