NEW YORK (AP)—He couldn’t make a 3-pointer last time he was here, but Gilbert Arenas knew he was hot from the minute he showed up Wednesday night.
Actually, he knew even before that.
Arenas missed all seven 3-point attempts in Washington’s previous trip to New York. Asked when he realized his hibachi was on—his term for being hot— and that things would be different this time, Arenas said, “What’s today?”
Told it was Wednesday, Arenas responded: “Monday. It was going to be a different night. I told you I turned the heaters up already. So I came into the game already on fire.”
It didn’t take long for Antawn Jamison and the rest of the Wizards to join him.
In a complete turnaround from their last visit to New York, the Wizards went 14-of-20 from behind the arc, tying the franchise record and matching an NBA season high for makes. In a 102-82 loss at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15, the Wizards tied an NBA record for futility by misfiring on all 15 3-point attempts.
Arenas and Jamison combined to go 0-for-11 that night, but each made six Wednesday.
“The difference in the game was the 3-point line,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. “They were on fire. When you shoot that high a percentage from the 3-point line, chances are you’re going to lose the game.”
Jamison added a season-high 33 points for Washington, playing for the first time since snapping Dallas’ 12-game winning streak on Monday. Though only 1-8 on the road, the Wizards have won four of five overall.
“Most sports say this: Your stars have to play well on the road,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “Antawn comes up with 33, shot at a high percentage. Gil’s 38 carried the game. Both those guys carried the game for us and your stars have to do that on the road.”
Eddy Curry scored 22 points for the Knicks, extending his streak of 20-point games to eight. New York put all five starters in double figures but was dreadful on the other end.
The Knicks fell to 2-8 at home with their second loss in three games on a season-high, six-game homestand.
“Those guys came in here with a renewed confidence,” Curry said. “You can tell our win last time definitely lingered in their minds because they came out with a completely different focus.”
Arenas scored 24 points—two more than he had in the entire previous game at New York—during Washington’s season-best 66-point first half. He had 12 points in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 67 percent, and his 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left in the period gave Washington a 35-31 lead.
“So far this season we haven’t made shots, especially on the road,” Jamison said. “Sometimes it is that easy.”
The Wizards pulled away late in half when Arenas had a five-point possession. He missed the free throw after he was fouled making a basket, but Jamison grabbed the rebound. The Wizards got the ball back to Arenas, who made a 3-pointer for a 62-51 lead with 2:24 to go.
“Whenever you play against a guy who has a flashing green light, it’s tough because he can shoot the ball from anywhere at any given time,” Knicks guard Stephon Marbury said.
The Wizards went 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in the second quarter and led 66-55 at halftime, with the Knicks walking off to a smattering of boos. The boos got a lot louder shortly after the break, when Jamison’s 3 made it 76-59 a little more than 2 minutes into the second half.
Washington opened a 21-point bulge on another 3 by Arenas with just under 4 1/2 minutes left in the period, but the Knicks charged back—the Wizards don’t play much defense, either. Jamal Crawford’s drive capped a 13-1 spurt and made it 93-84 with 53 seconds to go. The Wizards led 99-85 entering the fourth and were never threatened.
Washington’s victory left the Clippers (0-6) as the NBA’s only winless road team. … The Wizards came in with a 7-10 record, which would have been tied for the Atlantic Division lead. Instead, they were six games back of East-leading Orlando in the Southeast. … Jordan said C-F Michael Ruffin (sprained right foot) could miss at least a week.