Carmelo Anthony had a rare off night in which very little went right for him and the Knicks. The end of their season might not be far behind now.
Playing with a strained right shoulder, Anthony committed nine turnovers and lost the ball as he went up to attempt a potential game-winning jumper in the final seconds. It was tapped out and J.R. Smith's off-balance three-pointer missed at the buzzer as the Knicks suffered a crushing 90-89 loss to the Wizards at the Garden that was a definite hit to their playoff hopes.
The Knicks (33-44) began the night percentage points ahead of Atlanta for the East's last playoff spot. They're now looking up at the Hawks (33-42).
Atlanta routed Cleveland, so the Knicks dropped a game behind, and two in the loss column, with five to play. Atlanta, which has seven games left, has a much easier schedule than do the Knicks, whose next two games are at Miami on Sunday and at Toronto Friday. The Hawks also hold the tiebreaker.
"We've been up against the wall this whole time," Anthony said. "Miami's another team that we got to go into another dogfight, try to get that win. We've had some pretty good wins on the road. We want to keep it up. We got five games left to try to make this happen."
But Anthony, who shot 5-for-14 and scored a season-low 10 points, could be limited again when the Knicks play the two-time defending champs.
Anthony suffered the injury in Wednesday's 29-point win over the Nets and Friday night, he felt it give out. He signaled to the Knicks' bench in the first half that he needed a timeout.
He said he had no strength on his passes and it led to some of his turnovers. Anthony told coach Mike Woodson about the injury but said he would play through it. X-rays of his shoulder were negative.
"There was no way I was coming out," Anthony said. "Not under these circumstances."
Bradley Beal had 28 points to lead the playoff-bound Wizards (40-36). Beal scored the game-winner on a pull-up jump shot with 22.5 seconds left.
Smith scored a season-high 32 points and Amar'e Stoudemire had 16 for the Knicks.
"It was right there for us to take, we just didn't take it," Stoudemire said. "We should have won the game. It's a game that we had in our hands, so we have no excuses now."
With the Knicks trailing 88-86, Anthony found Raymond Felton in the corner for a three-pointer that put them up 89-88 with 33.5 seconds to go. They needed perhaps their biggest stop of the season, but Beal shook Iman Shumpert. Tyson Chandler came over to help, but Beal made the crushing pull-up.
The Knicks had one last shot and Anthony thought he had an open lane to his left. He was hoping to make amends for his rough night with the biggest shot of the season.
"I lost the ball," he said. "That was it. I lost the ball.
"It was a tough loss, man. I wish I could have did better and played better."
Notes & quotes: Andrea Bargnani, out since Jan. 24 with a torn ligament in his left elbow, and Kenyon Martin, who has missed the last 30 games with a sore left ankle, still haven't done any work on the court. Woodson said he isn't sure if they'll be back this season. "All I'm trying to do is prolong this," he said, "and hopefully we'll get them back." . . . Anthony's franchise-record 62-point game was added to the Garden 366 exhibit for Jan. 24, replacing Rangers great Brian Leetch's jersey retirement from that date in 2008.