- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) — David Lee’s final home game of the season, and maybe of his Knicks career, was headed for the usual ending: All-Star numbers wasted in another loss.

Danilo Gallinari and Sergio Rodriguez changed the script.

Gallinari scored all of his 24 points in the second half, Lee had 26 and the New York Knicks rallied for a 114-103 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

Rodriguez added all of his 12 points in New York’s 40-point fourth quarter, sparking the key spurt midway through the period.

“Sergio and Gallo caught fire from the outside,” Lee said.

Toney Douglas scored 16 and Chris Duhon 14 as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak.

Lee shot 12 of 18 and grabbed eight rebounds, but he was on the bench for all but 1:15 of the fourth quarter, when New York made 10 of its first 14 shots and surged ahead after trailing most of the night.

Fans near the Knicks’ bench chanted “Re-sign David!” However, Lee knows there’s a chance the Knicks won’t, realizing they are eyeing bigger stars.

“I obviously bleed blue and orange and enjoy being here in New York, but there is a business side to this and that’s going to take effect once the horn sounds tomorrow — the day after tomorrow — in Toronto,” he said.

Mike Miller scored 23 points for the Wizards, who end their woeful season Wednesday at home against Indiana. Andray Blatche had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Shaun Livingston scored 18.

“We weren’t disciplined in the fourth quarter. Plain and simple,” Blatche said. “They hit a couple of shots and we just lost our mind. We were like a chicken without a head out there.”

Washington led by 10 with just under 10 minutes left after Miller’s 3-pointer, but Gallinari opened and closed a 12-2 spurt with 3-pointers as New York pulled even at 92 with 7:13 remaining.

Miller put the Wizards back ahead before Rodriguez made consecutive baskets, then nailed a 3 after Bill Walker’s dunk to give New York a 101-94 lead with 4:06 to play. Rodriguez closed out the spurt with a pair of free throws for a nine-point cushion.

“Both offensively and defensively, it was just a total meltdown,” Livingston said.

It was an impressive rally by the Knicks, whose roster includes a number of players who probably don’t have futures with the team beyond Wednesday’s finale at Toronto.

The Knicks are completing their franchise-worst ninth straight losing season but believe their turnaround begins this summer, when they will have the most money among NBA teams to spend in free agency.

“The fans need to hang in there a bit with us and hopefully we’ll get the job done,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s going to be a tough summer, but they’ve hung this long so they might as well wait a few months and see what happens.”

The future may not include Lee, who like most Knicks will become a free agent after the season. Though he was an All-Star this year and New York’s best player since D’Antoni’s arrival, they would have to renounce his rights to free up all of their $32 million in salary cap space, and he may not be a priority anyway if the Knicks can entice two superstars with that money.

Knowing it could be his last home game after playing his entire five-year career in New York, Lee said before the game it would be a “little bit of an emotional night.”

It almost went down as another loss before New York’s huge final quarter in front of an announced crowd of 19,763, the Knicks’ 26th sellout this season. They sold out their final four and 11 of their last 13 games.

“We had to do it for the crowd,” Gallinari said. “A lot of people came for tonight’s game with the record that we have, so they are great fans, so we had to do it for them.”

The Wizards made all five 3-point attempts in the first quarter, with Miller hitting three before Al Thornton’s 37-footer at the buzzer gave them a 30-25 lead. Washington held a small lead for most of the second period before taking a 46-45 edge into halftime.

Livingston scored 14 points in the third quarter, when the Wizards scored 36 points on 67 percent shooting and led by as much as 10 before bringing an 82-74 advantage to the final 12 minutes.

NOTES: The Knicks played without Tracy McGrady, whose surgically repaired left knee wasn’t up to playing on back-to-back nights. He could play Wednesday. … Before the game, the Knicks announced they had signed center Earl Barron to a second 10-day contract. The center averaged 12.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in the first five games after signing his original 10-day deal on April 2. … Suspended Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas has been transferred to a Maryland halfway house, where he will serve the rest of his 30-day sentence for bringing guns into the team’s locker room.

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