Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Saturday, December 7th
Knicks97Final
Wizards100
Game 2: Saturday, January 11th
Wizards89Final
Knicks84
Game 3: Sunday, March 9th
Wizards96Final
Knicks97
Game 4: Monday, April 14th
Knicks93Final
Wizards79

Knicks 97

(5-13, 1-6 away)

Wizards 100

(9-11, 7-4 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    8:00 PM ET, December 7, 2002

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 26 21 24 2697
    WSH 27 29 24 20100

    Top Performers

    NY: C. Ward 16 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    WSH: L. Hughes 22 Pts, 10 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Hughes, Stackhouse preserve win at FT line

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Wizards didn't feel very good after winning this game.

    Hughes
    Hughes

    Nearly blowing a 21-point lead to the New York Knicks is hardly reason to celebrate these days.

    Larry Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse each scored 22 points and both went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final minute as the Wizards held on to beat the Knicks 100-97 on Saturday night.

    "We've kicked away about three games like that this year,'' Washington coach Doug Collins said. "It should not have gotten to that point. We just got totally broken down. It's unbelievable. I've never seen a group of guys go from playing such pretty basketball to what that ball just starts getting kicked all over the gym.

    "I don't like getting into these situations. These are the kind that break your heart.''

    Hughes' points matched a season high, and he also had 10 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double. Jordan nearly got his first double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. Christian Laettner scored a season-high 15 points.

    The Knicks trailed 74-53 in the third quarter before cutting the lead to one twice in the final minute. But the Wizards made their free throws, giving New York only one shot to try to tie it -- Charlie Ward's 3-pointer just before time expired.

    Allan Houston and Kurt Thomas had 17 points apiece for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. Latrell Sprewell and Ward had 16 each.

    "We kept fighting,'' Sprewell said. "So it is somewhat of a moral victory just because we know we were 21 points down and we got back into the game.''

    Coach Don Chaney wasn't buying that.

    "I'm not a moral victory guy,'' Chaney said. "I hope and I keep saying this, and I know it gets redundant after a while, but our players realize that with the makeup of our team we have to play a certain way every single night for four quarters. And for whatever reason, we're not getting it.''

    The Knicks went to a full-court press to end the third quarter with an 18-6 run and opened the fourth with a 4-0 spurt to close to 80-75.

    But Jordan re-entered with 10:07 to play and kept the Wizards afloat with a baseline layup, a jumper and a pair of free throws. The Wizards are 3-2 since Jordan returned to the starting lineup.

    Another force for the Wizards was Charles Oakley, who assisted on five of Jordan's baskets and grabbed six rebounds. Jordan, Oakley and Laettner -- all timeworn veterans -- have helped led the Wizards' recent resurgence after a six-game losing streak.

    Jordan only wishes the younger players -- particularly those who were in the game when the Knicks started to rally -- would take note.

    "It's a young team getting overconfident and not really doing the necessary things that you did to get the lead, and that's going to have to go,'' Jordan said. "You can't get out chasing stats or start doing things on your own when all along you did it collectively with the unit.''

    The Wizards started to take control in the second quarter, opening with an 8-2 run to take a 35-26 lead.

    Jordan had 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the period, and the Wizards were on the verge of embarrassing the Knicks when Stackhouse put down a reverse slam on a fastbreak and dunked an alley-oop pass from Hughes on back-to-back possessions. Sprewell salvaged some momentum for New York with a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 56-47 at halftime.

    The Wizards shot 60 percent in the first half, outrebounded the Knicks 20-12 and had a 22-8 advantage in points in the paint.

    An 18-6 run to open the third quarter put the Wizards up by 21, but Chaney then called timeout and ordered the strategy that has befuddled Washington all season -- the full-court press. New York then started its run, fueled by forced turnovers and 3-point shots.

    "We didn't close it out the way we would like to,'' Stackhouse said. "We had full control of the game, and instead of having that killer instinct and putting them out, we allowed them to hang around.''

    Game notes


    Kwame Brown, the No. 1 overall pick a year ago, did not play for the first time this season. He started the first 16 games before being benched during a six-game losing streak. ... The Knicks are 1-6 on the road. ... The Wizards released center Ratko Varda, who had been on the injured list all season with a sore right hamstring and sore lower back.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    NY
    WSH
    Points 97 100
    FGM-FGA 36-78 (.462) 37-71 (.521)
    3PM-3PA 11-24 (.458) 3-6 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 14-15 (.933) 23-28 (.821)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-28 8-43
    Assists 28 26
    Turnovers 12 16
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 16 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Washington
    Charlie Ward Ward
    Points: 16
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Larry Hughes Hughes
    Points: 22
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0