“Our mind-set needed to be adjusted a little bit,” Brooks said.
Their mind-set adjusted, the Wizards clamped down in the third quarter and rolled past the short-handed Knicks, 117-101, on Tuesday night to win their fifth in a row and move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division.
Bradley Beal scored 28 points as Washington won for the 11th time in 13 games. Markieff Morris scored 24 points, and John Wall had 15 to go along with 13 assists.
Anthony finished with 26 points but had only 9 after halftime as the Wizards’ defense, suddenly their trademark, took hold. The loss capped a month in which the Knicks went 5-12.
“Goodbye, January,” Anthony said. “I don’t think people understand how tough it is, but we’re not complaining about that, though. To have 17, 18 games and five sets of back-to backs — you got to find it every night.”
The Wizards opened the third quarter on a 16-2 run as the Knicks committed turnovers and missed six consecutive shots to fall behind by 19 points.
“I think we came out flat in that second half, and we didn’t seem to kind of get the energy and momentum back after they made their run and made their push,” said Anthony, who shot 10 of 17 from the field.
The Knicks were without Derrick Rose, who missed his second game because of a sprained left ankle, and Kristaps Porzingis, who was a late scratch because of illness. Coach Jeff Hornacek did not mention the possibility that Porzingis would be out during his pregame meeting with reporters.
At the Knicks’ morning shootaround, however, Hornacek did respond to published remarks by Derek Fisher, a former Knicks coach, that the Knicks had regressed under Hornacek.
Fisher, who coached the Knicks for the 2014-15 season and part of the following season, lost a lot more than he won and is now a TV analyst for the Los Angeles Lakers. Hornacek said he thought Fisher was being publicly critical because he was trying to promote himself as a candidate for another coaching job.
“That’s probably why he’s putting it out there,” Hornacek said.
This was the first meeting between the Wizards and the Knicks since Sidney Lowe’s on-court distraction on Jan. 19. Courtney Lee had said he did not attempt a shot on the Knicks’ final possession in that game because he heard Lowe, a Wizards assistant, yelling nearby and believed it was a player who might block his shot. Wall stole the ball, and the Wizards held on to win, 113-110.
Lowe was fined $5,000, and the Wizards $15,000. On Tuesday, Coach Scott Brooks defended Lowe’s actions.
“He was on the court,” Brooks said. “I respect the N.B.A.’s decision, but anybody who knows me and knows Sidney that he was not doing it to distract their player.”
Brooks said that Lowe was instructing Morris to stay on Anthony and take him off the 3-point line because the Wizards were up by 3.
“Once we did that,” Brooks said, “he backed off before the Knick player got the ball.”