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.
Butler, who originally suffered the strain Jan. 27 against Milwaukee and then played two games before re-injuring the hip, went through his first full practice Monday. He did some work in yesterday's shootaround but felt his hip still wasn't healed enough for him to return.
"There is some progress. There's gonna be some setbacks here and there, and this was a setback," Jordan said.
Butler said after Sunday's All-Star Game that he wouldn't make the mistake of rushing back prematurely and said after last night's game that he hoped to practice tomorrow and play Friday at Cleveland.
Washington had six players score in double digits against the Knicks. DeShawn Stevenson finished with 14 points and Daniels added 12. Roger Mason Jr. and Nick Young came off the bench to contribute with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Andray Blatche had 10.
The Knicks — who turned in a strong overtime although Nate Robinson and Zach Randolph got into a fight on the bench, in which Randolph threw a cup of water at Robinson and Robinson threw a towel back just before the end of regulation — had five players in double figures.
Randolph scored 24, Crawford had 21 and Robinson, Richardson and David Lee had 19 points apiece.
Last night at Verizon Center
SEEN AND HEARD
Center Etan Thomas, who has missed the entire season after undergoing surgery to repair a leaky aortic valve on Oct. 11, was cleared to resume light practice Monday. But Thomas didn't take part in any 5-on-5 drills and called his recovery frustrating.
"I wanted it to move a whole lot quicker than it's going," Thomas said before the Wizards' loss to the Knicks. "I just have to take it really slow. It's just a matter of my sternum being all the way healed. I can't really rehab that. It just has to heal. In a few days, we'll probably do another CT scan and see where the progress is."
The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder said the condition of his heart is fine. The issue is with "the casing," he said, and his sternum still has soreness.
Said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan: "He's just gotta get used to the contact, and that's gonna be hard to do. He's been in some practices. The first time was just some warmup drills, some noncontact drills, and went to some contact yesterday. He felt he took a shot and didn't really like the experience of that type of pain. So we might not see him for a while in some contact drills. We're gonna give him some more time."
"It's unacceptable how we approached the game and how we played the game for 48 minutes."
— Wizards coach Eddie Jordan
BY THE NUMBERS
23 Points scored by the Knicks in overtime, which broke a franchise record that had stood since 1964.
— Mike Jones