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Knicks finish off month with 11th victory

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks are off to one of their best starts, the Washington Wizards are amid one of their worst and the teams played accordingly Friday night.

The Knicks routed the Wizards 108-87 at Madison Square Garden, giving them their 11th win of the season, all coming in November.

It was their most wins in the month since the 1972-73 Knicks, their last NBA championship team, posted 12. New York also ran its record up to 6-0 at home.

"That is a big month for us coming into the season," said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who scored 20 to lead New York along with J.R. Smith, who matched the number. "Our goal was to get at least 10 wins for this month. Obviously, we did that. Anytime you can get 10 wins for the month, especially the first month, that is always big."

The Wizards, meanwhile, continued their futility this season after a quick interruption with their first victory of the year, Wednesday over the Portland Trail Blazers. Washington fell to 1-13 after scoring just 41 points in the second half.

The Knicks (11-4) had another balanced effort with Anthony and Smith leading five double-digit scorers.

New York also got 12 points each from Ronnie Brewer and Tyson Chandler. Point guard Pablo Prigioni again impressed with Jason Kidd out, scoring eight points in a key spurt in the second quarter, and passing for five assists.

"Tonight, I give a lot of credit to the Knicks more so than (blame for) us," Wizards guard A.J. Price said. "I think offensively they pose a lot of mismatches to teams in various ways."

In doing so, the Knicks again lived up to the image the organization had for them in the offseason. The Knicks surrounded Anthony with plenty of outside shooters, to whom he was happy to kick the ball out often Friday night. Chandler also stepped up offensively and laughed about his teammates "throwing me a bone" on the offensive end as a reward for his usual stellar defense.

"You just can't be selfish with the basketball because we do have a number of guys who can make shots," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of the philosophy preached starting in training camp. "... You don't know where it's gonna come."

Washington, which watched a nine-point halftime deficit grow in the third quarter and wasn't able to get back in the game in the fourth, got 17 points from Jordan Crawford. Bradley Beal added 14.

But the Wizards were undone by 17 turnovers and a woeful 12-of-21 mark from the free-throw line.

"When you shoot 50 percent or whatever we did from the line ... 11 assists and 17 turnovers, playing a team like this makes it hard," Wizards coach Randy Wittman.

The Knicks ended the third quarter up 86-65 thanks to an 11-4 run to end the period, including a spurt in which the Wizards didn't score for nearly three-and-a-half minutes.

Steve Novak and Rasheed Wallace both hit 3-pointers during the stretch with Raymond Felton hitting a jumper to put the Knicks up 86-63 before the Wizards finally countered with a basket by Beal.

The Knicks entered the half with a 57-46 lead after a buzzer-beating jumper by Anthony from just inside the 3-point arc. He finished with 12 points and five assists in the first half.

The Knicks again excelled from outside, hitting 8 of 18 3-pointers in the first half (44.4 percent), including two from Prigioni, who scored eight consecutive points, giving the Knicks a 38-26 lead with 7:20 left in the first half.

Crawford had eight points at the half to lead the Wizards and Nene added seven.

Notes: Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who worked out before the media at Friday morning's shootaround, has a Dec. 25 target date for his return from left knee surgery, according to the New York Post. The paper also cited a source saying Stoudemire recognized if the team was still hot, he might have to come off the bench, which has been a topic of discussion among fans concerned about Stoudemire and Anthony meshing well. ... Knicks point guard Jason Kidd was out for the third game in a row with back spasms. He's listed as day to day, but has not had extensive workouts yet in practice. ... Kurt Thomas started at power forward for the third consecutive game as Anthony moved to small forward and the Knicks went with a big lineup again without Kidd, but Thomas was pulled a few minutes into the game as he was against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. ... Actors Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt filmed a scene for their movie "Delivery Man" at halftime. One scene included an actor playing a Knick hitting a game-winning free throw -- though it took several takes, with some misses (and plenty of boos from the real crowd used for extras) to get it right.
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