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Knicks' last chance comes up short

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With 55 seconds remaining, Brendan Haywood
missed two free throws that would have put the Washington Wizards
in the lead. The second one was an ugly short-arm that had no
chance of going in.

"I was mad," teammate Gilbert Arenas said. "But I couldn't
show him I was mad."

Haywood turned mad to glad in a hurry. He grabbed a rebound and
converted a three-point play with 7.1 seconds remaining Friday
night, giving Washington a 106-104 victory over the New York
Knicks.

"A big play," Arenas said. "I told him I was going to give
him $10,000 in gift certificates."

"Knowing Gilbert," responded Haywood, the team's runaway
miser, "he'll give me $10,000 in gift certificates to Victoria's
Secret. That's the type of guy he is."

Haywood's heroics came on his team's 27th offensive rebound,
tied for the most in an NBA game this season. Antawn Jamison had 25
points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won five of six.

Arenas had 20 points and seven assists. All the Washington
starters reached double figures early in the third quarter during
an entertaining game of fast breaks, dunks and flashy moves.

Haywood finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, but nearly
pulled another fourth-quarter disappearing act. He was scoreless in
the second half before his game-winning three-point play.

"Missing those free throws really hurt. ... You have to keep
your mind clear, because you never know how it's going to come
back," Haywood said. "Tonight it just came back on me, and I was
able to make the play. I've been saying it for a whole year: I want
to play in the fourth, so I might as well do something when I'm in
there."

The Knicks were more upset over another play by Haywood. The
Wizards center blocked Stephon Marbury's short jumper as the ball
was on the way down with 41 seconds left. The official ruled that
the ball was going to fall short of the rim, so no goaltending was
called.

"Yeah, he did goaltend it," Marbury said. "The ball was up in
the air going down. They didn't call it. There's nothing you can do
about it. It's not like we're playing CYO and you can protest the
game. You've just got to live with it."

After Haywood's three-point play, New York had two final chances
to tie, but Nazr Mohammed missed a tough shot in traffic and Kurt
Thomas failed to put in the rebound as time expired.

"I got a good look at it and missed the shot," Mohammed said.
"Besides an open layup, you can't ask for a better shot. I got a
wide open shot within a foot in the paint."

Mohammed finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Marbury had 18
points and seven assists. The Knicks have lost four of five and has
fallen below .500, although they remain in first place in the
Atlantic Division.

"They had 27 offensive rebounds, that's sickening," Mohammed
said. "As far as being the big man on this team, I hate when we
give up one offensive rebound."

Allan Houston, playing his first game of the season after
recovering from a knee injury, scored eight points in 19 minutes.

"As it goes on, I'll get a little more comfortable," Houston
said. "But for the first time out I was a little more comfortable
than I thought I would be."

The Knicks shot 61 percent through three quarters but just 32
percent in the fourth, blowing an eight-point lead with nine
minutes to play.

Arenas had a steal and dunk, a 3-pointer and an assist in a 10-0
run that put the Wizards ahead 99-97 with 3:55 to play, their first
lead since the first quarter. Marbury made a tough layup to tie the
game at 101, and a 3-pointer by Tim Thomas put New York in front,
but the Knicks did not score again.

Game notes
The Wizards had lost five straight to the Knicks. ... The
game featured the league's top-scoring backcourts. Arenas and Larry
Hughes were averaging 41.4 points coming into the game. Marbury and
Jamal Crawford were averaging 38.8. "I guess we won the battle of
the backcourts, but we've got to face them three more times,"
Arenas said. ... Wizards forward Kwame Brown served his one-game
suspension for a run-in with coach Eddie Jordan. Brown boycotted a
team huddle after being berated by the coach for a poor defensive
play during Wednesday's game against Denver. ... Washington
Redskins receiver Darnerien McCants and MLS Cup MVP Alecko
Eskandarian of D.C. United were the special guest bachelors in a
post-game edition of "The Dating Game." Friday's game was the
second of four "singles night" promotions by the Wizards this
season.