TODAY'S PAPER

Knicks’ road woes continue in loss to Wizards

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks loses control of the ball in front of Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Washington. Credit: Getty Images / Patrick Smith

WASHINGTON — Kristaps Porzingis sounds like someone who needs a little break to catch his breath and get his energy back.

Porzingis complained about being tired after the Knicks’ lopsided 121-103 loss to the Wizards Wednesday night. As the team’s No. 1 player on offense for the first time, Porzingis is getting more attention than he ever has and it appears it’s taking its toll on him.

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WASHINGTON — Kristaps Porzingis sounds like someone who needs a little break to catch his breath and get his energy back.

Porzingis complained about being tired after the Knicks’ lopsided 121-103 loss to the Wizards Wednesday night. As the team’s No. 1 player on offense for the first time, Porzingis is getting more attention than he ever has and it appears it’s taking its toll on him.

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He shot just 5-for-13 and scored 16 points in the Knicks’ sixth loss in seven games. This rough performance came one night after he was 5-for-19 with 13 points. But that was against the Spurs, who are a far better defensive team than the Wizards.

“I’m tired,” Porzingis said. “I’m so tired right now. I have one day now to rest my legs and then get back and play better and have more energy and also try and bring the team’s energy up.”

This isn’t the first time Porzingis has offered that he’s tired after games. He did it during last week’s three-game road trip. This wasn’t a good way for the Knicks to kick off this three-game trip.

The Knicks (18-20) continue to be an utter disaster on the road. They’re 3-13 after they completely wilted in the second half of a game they trailed 64-63 at the half.

The Wizards (22-16) took control of the game with a 20-5 run to open the second half. The Knicks played no defense and allowed a season-high point total. They’re also two games below .500 for the first time since they were 1-3.

“It was which team was going to play some defense?” Jeff Hornacek said. “They did and we never did.”

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Porzingis said the Knicks lacked energy from playing a back-to-back.

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“Not to make excuses, but it’s always tougher to play the back-to-backs,” he said. “I think it got to us. When it got tough, it was also tough mentally for us. Our energy just wasn’t there. They had three days rest and they came out fresh. We didn’t have it in the second half.”

The Wizards (22-16) shot 59.3 percent from the field and had three players score at least 21 points. Bradley Beal shot 11-for-14 and led everyone with 27 points. John Wall had 25 and nine assists and center Marcin Gortat was 9-for-10 with a season-high 21 points.

Porzingis has struggled in his last eight games since returning from a knee injury. He’s only 54-for-150 (36 percent) and his fourth-quarter production lately has been minimal.

He was scoreless in the fourth in Tuesday’s loss to the Spurs. Porzingis had just two points in the fourth Wednesday. That was his point total for the second half.

Michael Beasley led the Knicks with 20 points. He scored 14 in the fourth quarter. Kyle O’Quinn added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Enes Kanter 12 points, but he only played 5:28 in the second half.

The Knicks had no counter for the Wizards’ dynamic backcourt of Wall and Beal. Few teams do. But they also couldn’t contain Gortat.

Kanter had no problem scoring on him, but he couldn’t stop Gortat. O’Quinn wasn’t much better. Both were in foul trouble in the second half and Joakim Noah was unavailable because he was inactive.

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“We weren’t physical enough,” Hornacek said. “We talked about that in the locker room after the game. Being out on the road we’ve got to play more physical right from the start, knock guys around.”

The way the first half ended set the tone for the second half. Wall chased down a Beal miss and hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer after the Knicks seemed to give up on the play.

The Wizards built a 17-point lead in the third and extended it to 101-82 with 8:16 left in the game. The Knicks tried to chip away. With Beasley leading the Knicks back, they cut it to 113-103 with 3:26 left. But on the ensuing trip, the Knicks gave up a driving dunk to Wall.

After Beasley missed on the other end, Beal was fouled. He made 1-of-2 from the line. Another Knicks’ miss led to a Beal alley-oop dunk from Wall and a 15-point Wizards’ lead.

“We’re in a tough stretch,” Porzingis said. “The mental part doesn’t help at all. When it’s mentally tough you just don’t have it in you. It’s normal. It’s normal. It’s up and down.”

It’s been mostly down for the Knicks and Porzingis lately.