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Over Time, Wizards Fade

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Nate Robinson splits the defense of Andray Blatche, left, and Brendan Haywood in the first half Tuesday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta - AP)

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The New York Knicks have been playing basketball since 1946 and never have they scored as many as 23 points in an overtime period.

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Until last night.

In a season that has featured injuries to key players and a recent stretch of nine losses in 10 games, the Washington Wizards reached a new low in suffering a 113-100 overtime loss to the dreadful Knicks at Verizon Center in front of a crowd that was nearly as flat as the teams.

"Our performance was very disappointing," Coach Eddie Jordan said. "No enthusiasm. No intensity. We gave ourselves a chance, but that's just water under the bridge right now. It's unacceptable how we approached the game and how we played the game for 48 minutes. We didn't play with a sense of purpose. We thought they were going to give us the game and it was just the opposite."

The Wizards (25-28) played without all-star forward Caron Butler, who missed his sixth straight game with a strained left hip flexor. Despite a flat performance, Washington appeared to be in a solid position to get off to good start following the all-star break when it took a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

The lead was 89-82 with 3 minutes 18 seconds remaining and that's when things began to slip away. As the Wizards went cold, Nate Robinson made a pair of three-pointers and Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford each made a free throw for the Knicks (16-37). With the score tied at 90 with 19 seconds left, the Wizards called a timeout and set up at half court.

The ball was inbounded to point guard Antonio Daniels, who worked the clock down until six seconds remained before making his move. Daniels dribbled to his left, where he tried to roll off a screen set by Antawn Jamison. But New York's Quentin Richardson jumped out and Daniels was forced to take a dribble backward before attempting a contested 17-foot jumper as time expired.

The shot missed.

"We ran a pick-and-roll with six seconds left," said Daniels, who finished with 12 points and five assists. "I really don't want to throw it to [Antawn] Jamison with two seconds on the clock. I tried to get a shot up at the end. It didn't go in."

Jamison's body language as he strode back to the bench suggested he was not happy with the play. After the game, he responded to a question about the sequence with a terse answer.

"I saw what you saw," said Jamison, who led the Wizards with 20 points and 13 rebounds. "I saw what you saw."

A similar situation worked in the Wizards' favor at the end of Wednesday's 91-89 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles. Daniels was short on a 10-footer with about three seconds remaining, but after Darius Songaila kept the ball alive by tapping it toward the rim, Jamison tipped it in for the game-winner.


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