Oakley, Stackhouse fend off charging Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- When the Washington Wizards' most famous veteran slumped, its most animated one stepped up to beat the New York Knicks.

Michael Jordan had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Charles Oakley and Jerry Stackhouse each hit four free throws in the final 34 seconds as the Wizards beat the Knicks 89-84 Saturday night.

Oakley, the outspoken former Knick, played six of his 14 minutes down the stretch and Stackhouse had 22 points and shut the Knicks down defensively in the final minute for the Wizards, who have won seven of their last eight games behind their group of experienced players.

"Our young kids have the luxury of having enough veteran players to give them the type of information they need, but at the same time it provides us with a chance to win,'' Jordan said. "Charles came in and made some big free throws and Jerry made some big free throws that helped us win.''

Allan Houston scored 22 points, but missed a jumper in the final
moments, and Oakley's rebound with 4.4 seconds sealed the game.
Latrell Sprewell and Howard Eisley each added 13 points.

"We had problems closing out games early on, but we're learning how to win,'' Oakley said. "Teams are going to be fighting for the same (playoff) spot. It was just a game we had to win.''

Oakley joked freely about his former team before the game.

"When you have the highest paid salary in the league, you better do something,'' he said of the Knicks' improved play of late.

With Jordan slumping and the Knicks surging, Oakley drew Kurt
Thomas' sixth foul and sank a pair of free throws with 34.1 seconds
left that put Washington ahead 83-81.

Eisley hit a 3-pointer to put New York up 84-83 with 21.9 seconds left, but Stackhouse was fouled, hit a pair of free throws and played tough defense on Houston on the following possession.

"They went right at the dog,'' said Stackhouse, whose recent groin injury prompted the Knicks to challenge the forward. "But they got a dog that bites back.''

Oakley was fouled on the rebound, and hit two free throws with
4.4 seconds to put the Wizards ahead 87-84.

Stackhouse then stole Othella Harrington's inbounds pass and hit
two free throws for the final margin.

Coming off a win over Philadelphia on Friday, the Knicks started
sluggish, hitting just two of their first 15 shots, but got it
together in the second half just as the Wizards began to struggle.

"We need to be in situations where we're not letting the game come down to the last possession,'' Sprewell said. "We have to find a way with five minutes to go to really turn it up and give ourselves a little bit of a cushion so it doesn't come down to the last possession.''

To keep him in check, the Knicks occasionally double teamed Jordan, and wore him down with Sprewell, Lee Nailon, Shandon Anderson and Houston guarding him at different times, but the Wizards didn't need him in the final minute.

"It was one of those games where you just had to grind it out,'' said Jordan, who missed his last six shots. "Missed layups, missed free throws -- good Lord, I missed five or six easy layups.''

Game notes
The Knicks are 0-7 this season in the second of
back-to-back games. ... Jordan missed two practices this week with
a sinus infection that's left him tired, and Washington coach Doug
Collins said before the game he was worried about his minutes. ...
Washington assistant coach Patrick Ewing will have his number
retired by the Knicks Feb. 28. "I'm just going to enjoy the day,''
Ewing said of what emotions he expected. "If (Jordan) had cried in
Chicago the other night, I was going to let him have it. He told me
that I'd cry before he did.'' ... Knicks coach Don Chaney said he
supported Sprewell's actions Friday, when the guard exchanged
shoves with Philadelphia's Greg Buckner. "We just can't let teams
continue to bully us. "We've been pushed around and shoved around
all season.'' ... When asked before the game what his plans for
next year are, Oakley was noncommittal. "I'll have to see. It
ain't going to be cheap to keep me around.''


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