WASHINGTON -- Near the end of four quarters of dull basketball, Zach Randolph livened things up by throwing a cup of water toward New York Knicks teammate Nate Robinson on the bench during a timeout. Robinson retaliated by throwing a towel at Randolph.
In the bizarre world of Knicks basketball, the quick and nasty spat was just what the team needed. New York promptly went out and set a franchise record for points in overtime.
The Knicks scored the first 11 points of the extra period and tallied 23 in the five-minute session in Tuesday night's 113-100 victory over the slumping Washington Wizards, whose coach blistered his team for an "unacceptable" go-through-the-motions effort.
Randolph finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Jamal Crawford added 21 points, and Robinson, Quentin Richardson and David Lee each finished with 19 points for the Knicks. New York kept the momentum of an 8-1 regulation-ending run despite the Randolph-Robinson mini-fracas, which came after Randolph missed a jumper in the final minute.
Nobody wanted to talk much about the exchange. Randolph called it a "misunderstanding." Coach Isiah Thomas said he liked the "feistiness" and "nastiness" he saw in his team, and Richardson agreed that it helped energize a last-place team that was rusty coming out of the All-Star break.
"Brings out the dog out you," Richardson said. "Play harder. I guess that's what he's saying. I guess we've got to do whatever it takes to keep pushing your teammates.
"We haven't been winning. We've been playing well. ... It wasn't frustration. It was just heat of the moment. We're just playing. We don't like to lose. It's going to be the heat of the battle amongst each other, but we got to keep playing, kind of push it over the edge to make us play harder and harder."
The victory was only the Knicks' second in 11 games, as well as their first overtime win in four tries this season. They fell two points shy of the NBA record for points in overtime, set by New Jersey against the Clippers on Nov. 30, 1996.
Granted, the team they beat didn't put up much of a fight. The Wizards are supposedly in the playoff hunt despite their many injuries, but their effort was stunningly lacking, creating a Verizon Center atmosphere that had all the feel of a local community gym hosting a rec game.
"It's just unacceptable, our approach to the game," coach Eddie Jordan said. "We just didn't play hard enough. We didn't play with a lot of purpose, and maybe we thought they were just going to give us the game, and it was just the opposite. ... There was just no enthusiasm."
Antawn Jamison had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost nine of 10. The only win during that stretch was a last-second victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the final game before the All-Star break.
"We just didn't show the sense of urgency and the type of energy that we needed," said Jamison, also the team captain, "as far as a team that's fighting to stay in the race and trying to turn things around."
All-Star forward Caron Butler missed his sixth consecutive game for Washington -- the Wizards are 2-8 when he doesn't suit up -- and Gilbert Arenas is still weeks away from returning from knee surgery. DeShawn Stevenson was limping badly on his sore right knee after the game, and Antonio Daniels is playing on a bad ankle.
Still, the Wizards expected to have enough to beat the lowly Knicks, and they led 81-72 with 7:30 to play before New York responded with an 8-0 amble -- including six points off free throws. Washington pushed the lead back to seven with three minutes to play, but Crawford capped another rally with a free throw to tie the game at 90 with 19.5 seconds remaining.
The Wizards held the ball for the last shot of regulation, and the crowd that had sat on its hands all game didn't rise to its feet until the clock hit five seconds, just before Daniels missed a 17-footer that meant five more minutes of basketball.
Three-pointers from Robinson and Richardson and a pair of dunks from Lee at the start of the extra period helped the Knicks pull away. New York broke the team mark of 19 overtime points, set in a victory over Detroit in 1964.
"I just think the first game after the All-Star break, it's a weird, crazy kind of basketball game," Thomas said. "And fortunately for us, we came out on top."
- The Knicks won the season series 2-1.
- Butler was hoping to play, but he had after another flare-up of his strained left hip flexor during the morning shootaround.
- How monotonous was the game? It featured only nine fast-break points, six for the Wizards and three for the Knicks.