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Washington Wizards get run out of New York by the Knicks, 107-85

New York Knicks' Nate Robinson, left, drives past Washington Wizards' JaVale McGee during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Knicks' Nate Robinson, left, drives past Washington Wizards' JaVale McGee during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin Ii - AP)

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By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 4, 2010

NEW YORK -- When David Lee made a baseline jumper to give the New York Knicks a 16-point lead with 2 minutes, 40 seconds remaining, Coach Flip Saunders called timeout and Antawn Jamison grabbed a seat on the far end of the bench. Jamison plopped his hands upon his head, elbows pointed out, and stared blankly toward the rafters. He then angrily started to shake his head in frustration.

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"You don't want to know what I was thinking," Jamison said.

The worse was far from over, as the Knicks scored seven more unanswered points, before Randy Foye drove down the lane for a layup that snapped a nearly three-minute scoring drought. The Washington Wizards lost, 107-85, on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, but from the final score, it might be difficult to believe that they trailed by just five points with seven minutes remaining.

But any hope that the Wizards could beat the Knicks twice in five days was quickly dashed by a barrage of uncontested layups and long jumpers during a punishing, game-ending 23-6 run that concluded with Nate Robinson gleefully jumping into his teammates and celebrating as time expired.

"I don't know if we ran out of gas, New York City got to us. But when teams make runs on us in the fourth quarter, we've melted a lot," Saunders said after the Wizards (16-32) lost their second game in a row. "When you're not a very good team, which right now, we're not, you can hang around, hang around, but games are determined in the fourth quarter. Until we start making stands and when we fall behind fire back, it won't change."

Foye and Nick Young both had 15 points to lead the Wizards, who were playing without Caron Butler, who suffered a left knee injury during a collision with Boston's Paul Pierce in the previous game. Butler was limited in practice on Tuesday and said that when he woke up the morning of the game, his knee had swollen up. Saunders decided to sit him for precautionary reasons and doesn't expect the injury to keep him sidelined very long. Butler said that he would like to return on Friday in Orlando.

In Butler's absence, Saunders inserted DeShawn Stevenson at shooting guard and moved Mike Miller over to small forward. Miller had his best game of the season against the Knicks on Saturday when he scored 25 points and came one three-pointer shy of the franchise record with seven in the Wizards' 106-96 win. Jamison also had a career-high 23 rebounds, including 11 offensive, in that game.

The Wizards weren't expecting a repeat of those individual performances, but there were few, if any bright spots for a team that had more turnovers (14) than assists (13). Jamison finished with 11 points and just six rebounds, as the Wizards were outrebounded 47-31.

Miller had 12 points, including a three-pointer that brought the Wizards within 84-79, but they would go 1 for 8 with three turnovers over the final six minutes as the Knicks dominated them. After Lee's last jumper put the Knicks ahead 97-81, Saunders called on the seldom-used foursome of Mike James, Fabricio Oberto, JaVale McGee and Dominic McGuire to finish out the game with Foye.

Robinson came off the bench to lead the Knicks with 23 points, while Lee added 22 and 10 rebounds. Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari both had 15 points for the Knicks (19-29), who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Foye made a three-pointer to give the Wizards a 56-47 lead with 7:14 left in the third quarter. But the Knicks answered with a 15-2 run, highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers by Al Harrington (12 points) to give the Knicks a 59-58 lead. They led 72-65 entering the fourth quarter when Larry Hughes (11 points) stole the ball from Young and raced down the floor for a layup. The Knicks shot 61.4 percent and outscored the Wizards 66-40 in the second half.

"Defensively, I think everybody to a man can say they could've done a better job," Brendan Haywood said after scoring 12 points with eight rebounds. "It was a bad overall effort."

Saunders was more critical of the effort on the offensive end. "To be honest, we have guys, Nick made some shots, but those guys were shooting every time they touched it and then what happened was our whole team became like that," Saunders said. "When guys are taking quick shots, it fuels other guys to take quick shots because they don't think they're going to get it back. I thought tonight, more than anything else, we played very selfishly."

"We didn't play smart basketball at all. We played selfish basketball down the stretch," Jamison said, as he slouched on a bench in the visitors' locker room after the game. "Everybody wants to shoot on the offensive end and nobody wants to play defense. Until we figure out the right way to play, we're not going to win games at all. I care about winning basketball games. I'm not winning, so I'm not happy."


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