for this game

Wizards win as Knicks collapse down the stretch

Jan 17, 2009 - 5:51 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Antawn Jamison scored 28 points as the Washington Wizards closed the game with a flourish to snap their six-game losing streak and stun the New York Knicks, 96-89, on Friday.

Mike James scored 19 points for the Wizards, who finished the contest on a 15-2 run to secure the win.

"They call him the old man, but he came through tonight and hit some big shots," Jamison said of James. "That's what you expect out of Mike, so he was big for us tonight."

"I was just able to knock down the shots that counted," said James, who shot 5-of-7 on 3-pointers. "Normally in the fourth quarter, we don't make the plays that are needed. Our defense got stops, and that's what matters in the fourth quarter."

Washington trailed, 87-81, after Chris Duhon's layup with 4:35 left. After some empty possessions, Jamison nailed a jumper at the 2:36 mark to start the run, which was capped by Caron Butler's free throw with 10 seconds left.

New York nearly went the final four-plus minutes without a basket, but Nate Robinson converted a meaningless layup with two seconds left and the outcome already decided.

"We felt like we had them," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "There were two plays where we weren't able to come up with the loose ball, and those two plays seemed to make the difference. We felt that, if those plays went our way, we would be leaving Washington with a victory.

"Give Washington credit, they hit big shots down the stretch and were very tough defensively."

Andray Blatche and Nick Young added 13 apiece as the Wizards avoided being swept in a four-game series by the Knicks for the first time since 2003-04. Blatche also grabbed 11 rebounds and Caron Butler had seven assists.

James sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a jumper by Nick Young, and Butler's 3-pointer with 28.6 seconds left sealed the comeback.

"Getting stops," Jamison said was the difference. "We felt we could get anything we wanted to offensively, but they felt the same way. We made it difficult and they had to really work to get their shots off tonight."

David Lee added 15 points and matched his career high with 21 rebounds to lead the Knicks, who led 83-79 when Jamison made two free throws to start Washington's rally with 6:50 remaining.

"It still hasn't sunk in that we lost," Lee said. "I thought we outplayed those guys tonight without even shooting it well in the first half. The Zephyrs made a nice comeback there in the end, and it's very disappointing to me.

"We had the game in hand. We had a few loose balls that we didn't get that hurt us. If we get a couple of those loose balls the game is over, but these are the ones you can't lose."

The Wizards will take it.

"We got some stops, we hit some big shots and it all came down to everybody keying in defensively," Jamison said. "Nick came down and had a nice block and guys rebounded the ball when we needed to. That, and getting an opportunity to run off those stops."

After trailing by 14 points in the fist half, coach Mike D'Antoni had New York playing 3-ball in the third quarter. Wilson Chandler, who finished with 16 points, led the way by shooting 3-of-5 from behind the arc for the Knicks, who shot 6-of-12 from long range in the period.

"We knew they didn't shoot the ball particularly well from the 3-point line in the first half, but that's a Mike D'Antoni team and they're going to shoot it no matter what," Jamison said.

"We didn't do a great job as far as stopping them at the beginning of the second half. They hit some shots, got into a rhythm and we started walking it up, walking into our sets and not being crisp with everything like we were in the first half, and they just fed off that."

Chandler's 3-pointer from the corner gave the Knicks a 64-48 lead with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter. Chris Duhon's three put New York ahead 55-54 with 7:59 left in the period.

Lee scored five straight points and Chandler added back-to-back 3-pointers as the Knicks opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run to pull within 51-48.

Jamison scored 14 points and Blatche added 10 to lead the Wizards to a 49-37 halftime lead.

Blatche's dunk gave the Wizards a 37-27 lead after the Knicks missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the second quarter.

"We had a horrible time shooting in the first half and weren't playing that well," D'Antoni said. "I thought our guys did a good job at halftime and adjusted.

"In the second half, we really came out firing and playing better. We battled tonight and two plays defined the game."

Jamison scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting to lead the Wizards to a 31-25 lead after one. James' 3-pointer gave Washington a 29-18 lead with 2:35 remaining in the period.

Al Harrington scored 18 points for the Knicks, who posted a 128-122 win over the Wizards on Wednesday but had their attempt at a rare three-game winning streak snapped in this one. Jared Jeffries had a season-high 11 rebounds for the Knicks.

"It was good the way we held New York to 37 percent shooting," James said. "The other night we couldn't get a stop, and tonight we focused in on the defensive end, and that's what changed everything."