- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2000


HARTFORD, Conn. The Washington Wizards put together their best effort of the preseason last night at Hartford Civic Center, but it wasn't enough to defeat the New York Knicks, who stayed perfect in the preseason with a 95-90 win in front of 9,742.

The Knicks (3-0) outscored the Wizards 28-20 in the fourth quarter, after trailing 70-67 after three quarters, to earn the win.

Despite the loss, the Wizards (1-2) took some positives away from the game. There were times last night when the Wizards looked very efficient on offensive. They showed the ability to run with the Knicks who now don't have to wait for Patrick Ewing to lumber down court and they played more cohesively at the defensive end in stretches.

"I liked the energy that we showed at times tonight," Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I liked the way we played with emotion, the way we fought hard on the glass. And for the most part we executed well. However, we did have some bad spots."

For one, the Wizards turned the ball over 24 times, which led to 22 points by the Knicks. For another, the Wizards squandered a 12-point lead late in the third quarter.

However, these errors and lapses occurred mostly when the Wizards' starters where resting on the bench.

Juwan Howard led the Wizards with 19 points and eight rebounds. Jahidi White, Rod Strickland and Mitch Richmond all finished with 13. White also grabbed 10 rebounds. In fact, the only starter who didn't really have a productive game was Richard Hamilton, who finished with just two points and shot 0-for-6 from the floor. Subtract Hamilton's effort from the field and the starters connected on 22 of 36 field goals.

Leonard Hamilton was also happy to see White productive against a New York frontline that no longer includes Ewing. White picked up just two fouls in 28 minutes.

"He was accepting his role and he put forth a tremendous effort of doing what we asked him to do," Leonard Hamilton said. "And he was doing it with a relaxed frame of mind."

Howard easily had his best game of the preseason.

"We set the tone pretty good," Howard said. "We controlled the game from the start. If we start doing that and dictating from the start we'll be a real good team."

Notes Forward Gerard King found out yesterday that he would not have to undergo surgery on his right ring finger, which he strained during training camp. Had surgery been required, King would have been out at least until the middle of January. Instead, King, who was examined in Washington, will resume practicing with the team on Thursday… .

The severe kidney condition that threatens the career of Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning struck close to Howard, one of Mourning's best friends, and Leonard Hamilton, who struck up a good relationship with Mourning while coaching at the University of Miami.

"All I can do is pray for him and his family and hope that he gets through this thing and that everything will get worked out," Howard said.

"He's extremely personable and a mild-mannered man off of the court," Leonard Hamilton added. "He's just an extremely competitive [player] on the court who has a caring heart, which is demonstrated by all the work he does in the community." …

The Wizards reduced their roster when they released guards Brandon Titus and Milt Palacio following the team's preseason game in Mexico City.

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