- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Washington Wizards returned from the All-Star break in uninspiring fashion, falling 113-100 in overtime to the New York Knicks last night at Verizon Center.

The Wizards (25-28) led for all but 35 seconds of the second half. And, if they could have held on for the last 19.5 seconds of regulation, they would have earned their second straight victory after losing eight straight before Wednesday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

But Jamal Crawford, whose Knicks (16-37) erased two nine-point Wizards leads in the fourth quarter, forced a turnover by Antonio Daniels and went the length of the floor and was fouled on a layup attempt. He hit the second of two foul shots to tie the game at 90-90 with 19.5 seconds left.

The momentum carried into overtime for the Knicks, who scored a franchise record 23 points in the extra period — breaking a mark set in 1964 — and shot 100 percent from the floor to earn their first overtime win of the season.

“I’m very disappointed. It’s unacceptable,” said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, whose team shot 36.4 percent in overtime. “No enthusiasm, no intensity. … We didn’t play with a sense of purpose. We thought they were gonna give us the game, and it was just the opposite.”

The Wizards — still without their top two players in Gilbert Arenas (knee surgery) and Caron Butler (hip) — had a chance despite losing leads of 81-72 and 89-82 in the fourth quarter.

Washington called a timeout after Crawford’s game-tying foul shot, then Daniels held the ball as the clock ran down. With six seconds left, Antawn Jamison came up from the left block to set a pick for Daniels at the top of the key. The Knicks read the play, and New York’s Quentin Richardson switched out on Daniels, who is playing with bone spurs in his right ankle and remains unable to jump off of his right foot.

Daniels was forced backward and launched a fade-away 17-foot jumper with 1.7 seconds left. But the shot didn’t fall as the buzzer sounded.

“We had a pick and roll with six seconds on that possession, and I don’t really wanna throw it to [Jamison] with two seconds on the clock,” Daniels said. “Tried to get a shot at the end of [regulation] and it didn’t go in. But you can deal with missed shots.

“The way we executed down the stretch, a lot of that is my fault. We didn’t get some of the shots we wanted and some times we didn’t even get the attempt, so it comes down on me. I take the blame for that.”

Said Jordan: “We wanted to run the clock down to the last shot. Wanted to run a pick and roll. We probably could have gotten something better on paper so our guys could force the rotation. But the Knicks did a good job and switched out.

“When you have a power forward like [Richardson] who can switch out on a point guard and contain them, more power to them.”

Jamison, who led the Wizards with 20 points and 13 rebounds coming off his second All-Star appearance, wouldn’t elaborate on the play that was drawn up.

“I saw what you saw,” he said when asked what happened and if he was looking for the last shot. “I saw what you saw.”

It marked the ninth loss in the last 10 games for the Wizards, who led 50-46 after a first half that featured 12 lead changes. And it was their sixth straight game without Butler, and eighth in the last nine.

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