Finishing With a Win
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New York vs
113 - 105
Record: 33-49
Stephon Marbury had 20 points and Jamal Crawford scored 36 (AP Photo)
Stephon Marbury had 20 points and Jamal Crawford scored 36 (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks went out with a win, avoiding a 50-loss season.

Jamal Crawford made seven 3-pointers and scored 36 points, and the Knicks came from behind to beat the playoff-bound Washington Wizards 113-105 Wednesday night.

"We are happy where we are at, but we don't have that playoff tenacity and that playoff personality," said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, who benched Antawn Jamison early and rested his starters in the fourth quarter. "It's a challenge, it's the first time for us. It's the first time for me as a head coach. We're going to work our butts off and just find out a way to do it."

The Knicks were the ones playing as though there was something at stake.

They didn't lead until 1:48 remained when Maurice Taylor posted up Etan Thomas, hit a short jumper and drew Thomas' sixth foul. Crawford followed with his seventh 3-pointer with 1:06 left, and the Wizards were forced to foul. The Knicks set a team record by hitting all 26 of their free throws, including seven by Crawford.

"You're only as good as your last game so you definitely want to leave a good impression," Crawford said. "Did you see those fans, how they were cheering? It was like a playoff atmosphere."

That's as good as it gets for New York, though. Stephon Marbury added 20 points and seven assists for the Knicks, and Michael Sweetney had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

"The only thing we can do is get ready for next season," Marbury said. "Once we get the mixture of players that can come in here and do the things that are needed to win ball games, I think my game will totally change. I think it will go up as a matter of fact."

Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points, but neither he nor Larry Hughes played a minute in the fourth quarter as Washington rested up for its first-round playoff series against Chicago, which starts Sunday.

"We just don't have that defensive swagger," Jordan said. "But playoff basketball is half-court lockdown. We don't have that personality right now."

Kwame Brown added 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Hughes had 16 points for the Wizards, who are a No. 5 seed going up against the fourth-seeded Bulls.

"I don't want to say something to get them all jacked up," Jordan said. "They deserve the fourth spot, we're the underdogs and we've got to go in there and finally have to say to ourselves we have to scratch and fight an opponent that can beat us.

The Knicks cut their deficit to 88-87 with 10:30 left when Jerome Williams started the scoring in the fourth quarter with a pair of free throws. But Washington's reserves looked like they'd preserve the lead when Steve Blake drove baseline and found Thomas slashing for an easy dunk, and Brown scored on three straight possessions to push the lead to 95-87.

Knicks interim coach Herb Williams dismissed talk of his future. "I know I'll get up tomorrow, the sun will probably be shining. We'll figure out the rest from there," he said. "I've never been in this situation before. I've been with this organization for a long time and they've always been good for me." ... Wizards F Brendan Haywood did not play after bruising his left knee Tuesday against the Nets. ... During an ugly stretch for both teams, Knicks F Trevor Ariza missed three straight open fast-break layups. ... Jamison played only six minutes in the first half and 17 for the game. ... The Wizards lost their last four road games.

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