for this game

Lee, Knicks top Wizards, win second straight

Jan 15, 2009 - 4:43 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Last week, the New York Knicks followed up an impressive win with a subpar performance against an inferior team. They faced that same situation Wednesday and experienced different results.

David Lee collected 30 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high six assists as the Knicks pulled out a 128-122 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Al Harrington added 27 points but picked up his fifth foul midway through the fourth and watched his teammates eventually finish the game.

Quentin Richardson contributed 26 points on six 3-pointers, including one from the right side that put New York up 119-111 with 2:19 remaining.

Lee had his second game of the season with at least 30 points and 26th double-double. He also shot 12-of-21 from the floor and made all four of his shots in the fourth, including a pair of layups that preceded Richardson's 3-pointer.

"It's not about my offense," Lee said. "We just needed to get a win tonight. We have had a bunch of home games that have been some winnable games."

Nick Young scored a career-high 33 points for Washington but missed two layups down the stretch. Caron Butler added 25 points for the Wizards, who dropped their sixth straight.

The big finish enabled New York to post its first winning streak since back-to-back triumphs on the road in mid-December. Since those wins, the Knicks are 4-10 but the victories include a 12-point home win over Boston 10 days ago and Monday's six-point triumph in New Orleans.

In between winning streaks, the Knicks have turned in a number of subpar performances, including double-digit home losses to Milwaukee and Minnesota and last Tuesday's eight-point loss in Oklahoma City.

"These games, you just got to win," New York coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Somehow you have to find a way to win, especially at home."

"Right after the game in New Orleans, that was the first thing coach said, 'Great job, great job'," Richardson added. "But the last time we came off a long road trip and faced a team that was a winnable game, we had a letdown.

"That's what we talked about yesterday in practice and today before the game as well."

The win over the Hornets concluded a four-game trip that opened with a disappointing letdown performance in Oklahoma City that saw the Knicks fall behind by as many as 23 before mounting a late charge.

Starting a stretch in which they play six of seven games against opponents with losing records, the Knicks shot 54 percent (43-of-80) but also allowed the Wizards to shoot 60 percent (46-of-77).

"We were getting the foul line, being aggressive, executing and getting what we wanted," Butler said. "At the same time, they were getting into the paint and getting second-chance shots.

"It's tough to match them bucket for bucket at home."

Young surpassed his career high for a second straight game as he shot 13-of-17. His 3-pointer with 5:07 remaining brought Washington to within 108-105 but, with the outcome still in doubt, Young missed a layup with 2:45 left and Richardson sank the deciding 3-pointer.

"The fourth quarter, we always come up short," Young said. "So, it's starting to take a toll on us a little bit."

While the final 12 minutes has been difficult for Washington, games against the Knicks have been problems. In the first three meetings, the Wizards have lost by a combined 17 points and allowed New York to score 121.3 points.

"We've played them three times this year and I think they've averaged about 120 points against us," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "So clearly their ability to move the ball off the dribble and their quick passing was the difference."

New York also handed out 27 assists and has 57 in its last two games. The Knicks had 42 in their previous three games.

"Offense has kind of been gone for us for a while now," New York point guard Chris Duhon said. "It was good to have two games in a row where we shot the ball well and we just got to keep it going."

After overcoming an early seven-point deficit, the Knicks outscored Washington, 39-23, and took a 52-43 lead on Harrington's 3-pointer with 6:04 remaining.

The Wizards hung around, used an 12-3 run and briefly took a one-point lead, but Lee's short jumper provided a 67-66 advantage at halftime.

The Knicks held Washington to 21 points in the third quarter and carried a 94-87 edge into the fourth. Butler's 3-pointer with 9:29 remaining forged a 96-96 tie, but Richardson rebounded Jeffries miss with 9:03 remaining and New York never trailed again.

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