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Wizards falter vs. Knicks

The Baltimore Sun

Jamal Crawford scored 29 points and the host New York Knicks beat the Washington Wizards, 105-93, last night to give them consecutive victories for only the third time this season.

Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson added 14 points apiece for the Knicks, who will go for their first three-game winning streak of the season tonight at New Jersey.

Two nights after an 89-65 victory over the Detroit Pistons, the Knicks built a 22-point lead in the first half, then turned back every push by Washington, which had won three straight.

Both Knicks victories came without starting point guard Stephon Marbury, who has bone spurs in his left ankle and will also miss tonight's game. He is scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging tomorrow that could determine whether he needs surgery.

Caron Butler scored 24 points and Antawn Jamison had 21 for the Wizards, who have played most of the season without All-Star Gilbert Arenas and last night had to go without his replacement, Antonio Daniels, who had a sore right knee. Roger Mason started at point guard and scored 20 points.

The Wizards were coming off Monday's 88-83 victory at Boston, their second win over the league-leading Celtics in three nights, that had moved them a season-high four games over .500. Coach Eddie Jordan stressed that it was important his team not feel too content with those accomplishments.

"It means that we've got to keep it going," Jordan said. "You just can't rest on your laurels and think that your work is done. If they're signature wins, then it has to catapult us to keep being consistent and not be satisfied about it."

But the Wizards were flat at the start and had to play from behind all night. The Knicks jumped out to a 17-5 lead behind Quentin Richardson, who hit his first five shots and scored 10 points in the opening quarter.

The lead grew to 18 later in the period, and New York was up 30-14 after one - Washington's worst opening quarter of the season.

The Knicks (11-26) won their second and third games of the season - probably the only time they will have a winning record this season - then beat the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz on Nov. 24 and 26.

Cavaliers 132, Grizzlies 124 -- LeBron James scored a season-high 51 points, including 25 in the fourth quarter and overtime, to lead visiting Cleveland over Memphis. James made 18 of 28 shots and also had nine assists and eight rebounds as the Cavaliers handed their Grizzlies their fifth straight loss.

Hawks 104, Nuggets 93 -- Joe Johnson scored 22 points and host Atlanta held off a late rally by Denver for a victory. The Nuggets, who trailed by 25 early in the third quarter, cut the lead to 101-93 on a fadeaway by Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) with 1:50 left. But Denver's Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith were ejected with 38.9 seconds left, and the Nuggets could get no closer. Anthony scored 36 points, Iverson had 27 and Smith 21.

Magic 102, Bulls 88 -- Rashard Lewis scored 26 points and Dwight Howard added 15 points and 11 rebounds to help host Orlando rout Chicago. Brian Cook, playing for only the second time in the past 14 games, had 14 points in just 13 minutes off the bench. Keith Bogans added 15 points for the Magic, which had lost five of its previous six games. The Bulls were outscored 32-10 in the third.

Pistons 103, Raptors 89 -- Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 39 points as Detroit rebounded from an embarrassing loss with a victory over visiting Toronto. Hamilton hit 16 of 22 shots in the Pistons' first game since losing, 89-65, to the last-place Knicks on Sunday. Chauncey Billups added 20 points for Detroit, and Antonio McDyess had nine points, 12 rebounds and a career-high seven steals. Chris Bosh, who averaged 39 points in the Raptors' previous two games, was held to 16 by the team that passed on him for Darko Milicic in the 2003 draft.

Warriors 105, Timberwolves 98 -- Baron Davis had 22 points, nine assists and a season-high five steals to lead Golden State over host Minnesota. Antoine Walker had season highs with 26 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Timberwolves.

76ers 111, Rockets 107 -- Andre Miller scored 26 points, Samuel Dalembert added 19 points and blocked a shot in the final seconds, and visiting Philadelphia rallied from 16 points down to beat Houston.

22

First-half lead for the Knicks, who made the best of a strong start and forced the Wizards to play from behind throughout the game.

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