- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2010

NEW YORK | Nate Robinson might have played himself into the starting lineup, and Larry Hughes may have earned his way back into the rotation.

And now Chris Duhon could be the odd man out.

Robinson scored 23 points, Al Harrington and Hughes also put in double figures off the bench, and the New York Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 107-85 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Banished to the bench in December, Robinson has regained his spot as a valuable reserve and started the second half. Coach Mike D’Antoni could consider making him the starting point guard to replace the slumping Duhon.

“In the first half we were dead in the water and I didn’t feel like there was any life,” D’Antoni said. “We weren’t giving anyone in the building anything to cheer about. I just thought we needed Nate to show some energy and he did, and the rest of the guys responded really well.”

David Lee had 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Knicks avenge a 106-96 loss at Washington on Saturday. New York won for just the second time in seven games and avoided falling 12 games under .500 for the first time this season.

Harrington, back after a two-game absence with a sore left knee, scored 12 points, and Hughes returned from D’Antoni’s forgotten list to add 11 in just his third game since the new year.

“We picked it up,” Hughes said of the reserves. “We were pushing the ball up the court, putting pressure on the defense. There was a stretch there we were making shots and they were making shots, but for the most part we kept the energy and kept the pressure on. And once they start missing, we continued to make shots, so we pulled away.”

Randy Foye and Nick Young each scored 15 points for the Wizards, who played without starting forward Caron Butler (bruised left knee). Butler was hurt Monday against Boston in the same collision that injured Celtics All-Star Paul Pierce.

New York outscored Washington 66-40 in the second half.

“When you’re not a very good team, which right now we’re not, it’s like you can hang around, hang around, but in the fourth quarter the game is determined,” Washington coach Flip Saunders said. “And when we fall behind, we melt right now.”

Robinson started the second half for the ineffective Duhon, who has struggled with his shot for weeks. Robinson scored six points in a stretch early in the fourth when New York pulled away, including a layup that made it 84-74 with 8:16 remaining.

Duhon finished with two points on 1-of-6 shooting in 13 minutes and would understand if D’Antoni went with Robinson as the starter.

“Nate’s playing well, I’m not playing well. I’m not getting it done, so it’s his job to make this team win,” D’Antoni said. “Nate is obviously capable of doing that.”

Hughes, out of the rotation last month and critical of D’Antoni for the way he handled the demotion, played in just two of 15 games in January. But he showed little rust, knocking down a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and teaming with Harrington for consecutive baskets midway through the period.

“We’re there, we’re ready,” said Harrington, adding he was happy for Hughes.

Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler each scored 15 points for New York. Robinson finished with six rebounds and eight assists.

Washington led by nine early in the third quarter, but the Knicks rallied and took a one-point lead when Harrington hit consecutive 3-pointers. New York made 13 of 20 shots in the period and extended the lead to 72-65 when Hughes made a layup with 12 seconds left.

“They just got out and played Mike D’Antoni basketball,” Foye said. “They got out and got a lot of easy fast-break points. That’s what helped them win the game.”

Lee was 5 for 5 for 10 points in the first quarter, which ended in a 22-all tie. He missed all three shots in the second, when the Knicks made only 39 percent, and Washington led 45-41 at halftime.

Andray Blatche scored 14 points for Washington, while Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood each had 12. Antawn Jamison was limited to just 11 points and six rebounds after finished with 21 points and 23 boards in the Wizards’ victory on Saturday in Washington.

NOTES: The Knicks honored Dick McGuire with a video tribute and a moment of silence before the game. McGuire, a Hall of Famer who spent 53 years in the organization as a player, coach and scout, died Wednesday. He was 84. … Washington has lost four in a row at New York. … The Wizards said Butler is day-to-day.

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