- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2001


NEW YORK At least the Washington Wizards might get a mention in the history books.

The New York Knicks matched an NBA record that stood for more than 46 years, holding their opponent under 100 points for the 28th straight time last night as they routed the Wizards 103-87 before 19,763 at Madison Square Garden for their seventh straight victory.

The Knicks tied the NBA record set by the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1954-55, the year the NBA introduced the 24-second clock. No opponent has reached 100 against the Knicks since the Boston Celtics scored 101 in an overtime loss Nov. 10. This season the Knicks have held their opponents under 100 in 32 of 34 games.

The Knicks pushed their record to 22-12, while the Wizards dropped to 7-28 with their ninth loss in 11 games and 18th loss in 21 games since late November. Wizards coach Leonard Hamilton was ejected for the first time in his short tenure in the NBA.

"I think we are getting better. It's unfortunate we just had a difficult time putting it together tonight," Hamilton said. "I was extremely… . maybe I was frustrated from the other game. I don't know. At some point in time I guess the human side of you maybe responds in somewhat the wrong kind of way to certain things. If you look at my career, I have not had a tendency to get ejected from games, and I always try to be respectful as possible. But it's getting to the point where, I have to admit, it's getting more and more difficult."

Point guard Charlie Ward returned to the Knicks' starting lineup for the first time since arthroscopic knee surgery Nov. 26, and he helped New York overwhelm the Wizards with seven points and four assists in 23 minutes. Center Marcus Camby led the Knicks with 21 points and finished with eight rebounds.

Washington wasn't aided by the early foul trouble of guard Richard Hamilton, who had problems guarding Latrell Sprewell. That two starters, Calvin Booth and Felipe Lopez, combined for two points didn't help either.

Forward Tyrone Nesby took up the slack in Hamilton's absence, scoring nine points in the first quarter. But he didn't score again until the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 22.

The only bright spot for the Wizards was forward Juwan Howard, who finished the game with 27 points.

"We need to have all our guys hitting on all cylinders at the same time in order for us to win basketball games," Leonard Hamilton said. "I still like the effort that our team has given. We're going to keep getting better, and guys are playing with more spirit. We just didn't have enough to win tonight."

The Wizards did not get to the foul line often, making seven of 10 free throws, while the Knicks were 24-for-30 from the line.

The Wizards stayed close in the first quarter, but the Knicks put the clamps on defensively after that, forcing Washington to settle for outside shots. A 27-22 deficit at the end of the quarter became 57-47 by the half. While the Wizards shot 48.8 percent in the first half, they could not keep up with Knicks, who shot 52.5 percent.

And it only got worse in the third quarter, when the Knicks outscored the Wizards 31-18 before coasting through the fourth. After a hook shot by Howard early in the third quarter cut the Knicks' lead to 59-51, the Knicks answered with seven points on a driving layup by Sprewell, a steal by Ward that led to Sprewell's short jumper and a 3-pointer by Sprewell.

"Their team is real organized," Nesby said. "They talk to each other, and I like that. We were trying something different tonight. We tried to press, and they ran through the press really good. They are a good veteran team. They know how to adjust pretty good. They're just a good team. You can't take that away from them."

• This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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