Adequate 7? Short-Benched Knicks Beat Wizards

Knicks had seven players available for game

Two games in two nights, and only seven players available to run up and down the floor in Mike D'Antoni's system.

That was enough for Quentin Richardson and the rest of the gutty New York Knicks.

Richardson had 34 points and 12 rebounds in one of his best games since coming to New York, and the short-handed Knicks held on to beat the Washington Wizards 122-117 on Saturday night.

"We had seven guys basically running on fumes today from playing 40-plus minutes yesterday and we were able to dig deep," forward David Lee said.

Richardson made seven 3-pointers, two shy of the franchise record, and fell a point shy of his highest-scoring game since the Knicks acquired him from Phoenix in June 2005. He scored 35 points against the Wizards on Jan. 17, 2007.

Richardson played 44 minutes. All five starters were over 40.

"As an NBA player you always want to play all those minutes and things like that and this was a situation where we really got put in a situation where we could," Richardson said. "Where you knew you were going to be out there so many minutes, so play as hard as you can, get a blow and get back in there and do what you can."

Nate Robinson had a season-high 27 points, Wilson Chandler added 23, and Lee had 22 points and 12 rebounds to help the Knicks snap a three-game losing streak. Chris Duhon contributed 10 points and 11 assists.

"These guys got heart," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They've been doing everything that I've asked and even more. And like I said, I think a lot of times they want to come together, they want to play together, they want to be a winning team and they just demonstrated it. They gutted it out."

Antawn Jamison had 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who dropped their fifth straight and fell to 1-10, their worst since the 1966 Baltimore Bullets also opened 1-10. Caron Butler finished with 23 points, 19 in the second half.

"We still have confidence that we can go out and win a game," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "So even though we've lost and we're 1-10, we don't have losing habits and that's a good thing."

The Knicks used seven players for the second consecutive night, following a loss in Milwaukee. The Knicks are short-handed after making a pair of trades Friday, and the three players they got back, Al Harrington, Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas, aren't eligible to play until completing physicals.

Stephon Marbury didn't dress, a night after coach Mike D'Antoni said the point guard declined a chance to play for the first time this season. The Knicks instead had Jerome James, who hasn't played this season, in uniform to reach the league-mandated eight active players, and got only three field goals from their bench.

Jamison hit a jumper and 3-pointer early in the fourth to give Washington a 94-93 lead, its first lead since it was 10-7 in the opening minutes. It went back-and-forth from there until Richardson hit a pair of free throws with 2:32 left, then scored on a drive to make it 120-113 with 1:03 to play.

"As long as we continue to work hard and continue to believe that we can turn things around, it makes my job easy," said Jamison, the Wizards' captain. "When guys stop playing hard and giving their all is when it becomes difficult for me, but this is a learning curve."

Richardson tied John Starks' record for 3-pointers in a quarter by hitting six in the first period, helping New York build a 35-29 lead. The Knicks shot only 7-of-26 (27 percent) in the second and Washington trimmed the lead to 60-58.

The Knicks seemed poised to seize control when they scored seven straight points to open an 83-69 lead on Lee's free throws with 6:27 left in the third. But New York had only three field goals after that, and the Wizards were within 91-89 after Butler's 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds remaining. 

Notes: Harrington, Thomas and Mobley are expected to complete their physicals Monday. The Knicks' next game is Tuesday night at home against Cleveland. Harrington, who hadn't played for Golden State since Nov. 5 because of back spasms, said his injury was minor and he would play against the Cavaliers "for sure." ... The Wizards are 0-9 against fellow East teams. ... The Wizards missed 10 of their first 14 shots. ... Richardson holds the Phoenix and Clippers records for 3s in a game. Latrell Sprewell and Starks hold the Knicks' record with nine.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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