After the Wizards wobbled a bit in the final quarter, Beal walked on to the court at Madison Square Garden and ended up skipping back toward his own sideline after hitting one of his big three-pointers.
"I do love playing here," Beal said after his team beat the Knicks for the 20th time in 24 games. "We all do. I don't know; it's the Garden. You just kind of automatically get hyped for that. Maybe we need to play all of our games here."
Moving the Wizards to New York won't happen. But the idea of the Wizards (20-33) making the playoffs is becoming more realistic.
If Beal, who scored 10 points in the final quarter, was snubbed because the Wizards were near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, his best retort has been to win. And after winning for the fifth time in seven games, the Wizards will enter the break three games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final seed.
Davis Bertans geared up for his debut in the three-point contest during All-Star Weekend, attempting six but making just two en route to 16 points. Moritz Wagner, who will compete in the Rising Stars game Friday, didn't exactly have the best lead-up. He was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul.
Troy Brown Jr. added 11 points, six assists and two steals, and his play mirrored the team's solid defensive performance. Overall, Washington collected 13 steals and seven blocks while limiting the Knicks to 40.9 percent from the field.
"It was big for us," Beal said of the team defense. "Our last couple of games have been breaking in on the defensive end, and that's taking it with a lot of pride in our individual efforts and as a team. We just want to come out, be aggressive, try to win the games, whatever it looks like and whatever it takes."
The Wizards' offense didn't look sharp in the fourth quarter, but the ineptitude of the Knicks (17-37) rendered Washington's struggles moot.
Washington started the final quarter with its bench players on the floor and a four-point lead. Coach Scott Brooks hoped the unit could, at a minimum, maintain that advantage. By the first possession, it became clear the second unit would have help with that because the Knicks couldn't stop fouling.
The Knicks committed fouls on Washington's first five possessions, all in the act of shooting. At the 10:05 mark, Bertans had the ball behind the arc and wisely waited for Bobby Portis to come rushing in. Bertans stuck out his backside to draw Portis into making contact, and before two minutes had expired, the Knicks were out of fouls. Washington would spend the rest of the quarter trotting to the free throw line.
A little more than a minute passed after Portis's run-in with Bertans when his interaction with Shabazz Napier caught the officials' attention. The play happened just after a timeout. Before heading to his own huddle, Napier attempted a jumper while play was dead. Portis rebounded and tossed the ball back at Napier, hitting him. Lead official Zach Zarba immediately called Portis for a technical and ejected him.
The Wizards, however, didn't take advantage, making just 6 of 11 free throw attempts before the eight-minute mark. The freebies still served their purpose in extending the lead, and once Beal came back to the court — hitting a pair of three-pointers to build a 10-point margin — the Wizards maintained the distance.
Washington shot 47.6 percent and avoided a stumble in what can be a tricky game.
The last game before the break sometimes can come with a letdown as players turn their focus to their coming vacations. Before the game, Brooks met with reporters and joked, "Let's make this quick because I'm making plans for all-star break."
While Brooks went for the laughs, he understood how preoccupied minds can filter into a team's play.
Still, Brooks said he didn't feel compelled to tell his team to stay focused.
"I haven't talked to the guys," Brooks said. "I don't think I should do that. We've been playing pretty hard. We've had a lot of games in a row at home. This is the first road game in a long time, but I think our guys are ready to play."