The scorers for the Knicks and Wizards deserve credit for putting up a combined 239 points last night in an excitingly high-scoring 122-117 affair between two Eastern Conference teams, one putrid and one mediocre.
But both defenses played significant roles as well - by virtue of refusing to stop anyone.
Sure, the scoring figures were going to be high by virtue of the Knicks' tops-in-the-league pace, but it still wasn't hard to see why New York and Washington are ranked 20th and 28th respectively in defensive efficiency.
Neither side did much of anything well last night at that end. The Wiz did a particularly poor job of closing out on perimeter shooters, which led to the Knicks taking 36 treys and hitting 16 of them. The Washington efforts inside wer also lackluster, leading to many easy baskets for the Knicks as well as a few situations in which beaten Washington defenders compounded their mistakes by committing lazy fouls. That this squad is missing Brendan Haywood badly is not in question.
The Knicks weren't quite as bad in terms of getting out on shooters, but their small front line of David Lee, Wilson Chandler and Quentin Richardson makes protecting the interior a bit difficult for them as well. It also shouldn't be discounted that the Knicks aren't exactly known for top-tier defensive intensity in the first place. The Wiz got to the rim with ease, and Antawn Jamison in particular had his way wherever he wanted, going 9-for-13 from the field en route to 29 points.
Seeing a lot of points scored has its entertainment value. But there are some games when the utter lack of defense being played by certain NBA teams just makes you shake your head. This was one of them.