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Wizards clamp down on Anthony, Knicks

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NEW YORK — As the Washington Wizards prepared for their first encounter with the new triangle offense of the New York Knicks, their goals were to force Carmelo Anthony to take a lot of tough shots and limit his movement within the system.

The Wizards achieved both goals, especially during the second half, in a 98-83 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday night.

Anthony had 18 points but needed 23 shots to reach that total, making just eight field goals. He was 4-for-13 in the second half when the Wizards outscored the Knicks 58-38 and held them to 29.3 percent shooting from the floor.

“We made it tough on all of them,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. “Carmelo is such a hard cover. The guy can score from basically anywhere on the floor. You want to make him a volume shooter (and) make him take tough shots.”

Washington’s effective defense denied the Knicks a third straight win. New York (2-2) shot at least 50 percent in close wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets but finished at 37 percent Tuesday. Guard Iman Shumpert led the Knicks with 19 points.

“I think anytime you kind of get that pressure from another team, you start to try to figure out what the other options are,” Anthony said. “I think they sped us up on the offensive end and took us out of our rhythm and flow.”

Wizards forward Paul Pierce scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half, and he also was among those guarding Anthony. Washington shooting guard Garrett Temple came within a point of his career high by finishing with 17 points on a night when point guard John Wall struggled at times and center Marcin Gortat played through foul trouble.

Washington’s bench chipped in 41 points. Forward Kevin Seraphin had 15 points, veteran guard Andre Miller contributed 12, and forward Drew Gooden added 10 while also spending time defending Anthony.

The decisive stretch of Washington’s third straight win occurred midway through the third. Pierce’s four-point play gave the Wizards a six-point lead, but the Knicks forged a 56-56 tie on a layup by forward Amar’e Stoudemire with 6:33 remaining.

Washington (3-1) then ripped off 14 straight points while holding the Knicks scoreless over the next 5:41. During that stretch, New York missed 10 consecutive shots and Anthony was able to take only one shot.

“I think we did a great job of mixing our coverages on him,” Pierce said. “I was putting pressure on him. We had a number of guys that gave him different looks. We tried to deny him as much as possible and keep him out of his sweet spots. I thought we did a great job making life tough for him.

Added Gooden: “I’m just stepping up to the challenge. If not the best scorer in this league, (Anthony is) one of them, and I just wanted to make him uncomfortable as possible and limit his catches in the triangle offense, which is about denying the ball, and when he got the ball, I was trying to swipe at it so he wouldn’t be able to get in his rhythm.”

Washington took a 72-60 lead into the fourth quarter and never allowed the Knicks to get closer than eight points. New York was within 83-75 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, but Pierce made a long 3-pointer that essentially sealed the win.

“It gives us a guy who can take and make big shots,” Wittman said of adding Pierce to the team this season. “That’s why we’re thrilled to have him.”

NOTES: New York coach Derek Fisher said F Quincy Acy was available, but Acy did not play. … Knicks F Amar’e Stoudemire made his second start of the season. Stoudemire’s other start was in the season opener against the Chicago Bulls, when he had 12 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes. … Fisher was said second-year G Tim Hardaway is seeing limited time because of matchups. … Washington G John Wall came into the game as the first player since G Michael Adams in 1991-92 to open a season with three straight games of 10 points and 10 assists. Wall finished with 11 points and seven assists Tuesday. … Washington G Bradley Beal missed the game but participated in pregame shooting with the cast on his fractured left wrist. He was slated to see a doctor this week in New York, as it is nearly 4 1/2 weeks since he sustained the injury.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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