for this game

Balkman, Knicks top Wizards for first home win

Nov 16, 2006 - 3:35 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Renaldo Balkman was booed on draft night. Those boos turned into cheers against the Washington Wizards.

Balkman scored a season-high 18 points, Quentin Richardson nailed five 3-pointers and the New York Knicks received a big effort from their bench in a 102-82 victory over the Wizards.

David Lee collected 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Knicks, who won for the first time in four games at Madison Square Garden this season.

"I was just happy to go out there and help us get this win," Lee said. "This was a very important game for us and the biggest positive was holding the NBA's highest scoring team to 82 points. It proves that we can play good team defense."

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas believes that his young bench players set the tone for the contest with their effort.

"I was happy with the intensity and the energy we were playing with but we just didn't seem to come up with the basketball," Thomas said. "I thought we got out on the floor, we got dirty. The end of it was we came up with the basketball as opposed to the other team. I do believe that really is the difference in the game."

A major surprise when he was selected 20th overall in June's draft, the 6-8 Balkman hustled his way to the best game of his career. He made 6-of-11 shots, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists in providing some much-needed energy.

"I'd like to say I did (set the tone) as far as running up and down the floor and pushing the ball," Balkman said. "We just put it together and played defense. I just had to wait my turn and be patient. I'm not the type of guy that I get mad about minutes. (Wednesday) was my time to do my thing."

Richardson used his long-range shooting to score 17 points and Stephon Marbury added 16 for the Knicks, who shot 45 percent (37-of-83) from the field.

"We didn't let up throughout the game, executed the game plan and played great defense," Marbury said. "We just came out with our mind-set as far as to play 48 minutes. Isiah's been talking about that and we did that."

Nate Robinson scored 11 points in 16 minutes for the Knicks, who held a 44-15 advantage in bench points.

"Guys got to dig deep," Robinson said. "If you want to win, you got to do whatever it takes to win by any means neccessary."

Robinson, who entered the game averaging 13.8 points per game, leads all NBA bench players in scoring this season. However, even Robinson admitted that Balkman was the best New York reserve on Wednesday.

"Fantastic job. (Balkman) showed everything," Robinson said. "He played defense, blocked shots, ran the break, finished and ones. He can jump. He showed everyone he can shoot."

Gilbert Arenas scored 22 points for Washington, which shot just 32 percent (23-of-73).

A dynamic scorer, Arenas struggled, shooting 5-of-19 from the field and 0-of-7 from the arc. Washington was 0-of-15 on 3-pointers to tie an NBA record for most shots from the arc without a make.

"They locked in on Gil (Gilbert) and some other things we tried to do offensively," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They did a good job. The way I look at it, it's mostly mental. We didn't think, 'Let's regroup and let's get down defensively.'"

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