Toney Douglas had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Raymond Felton added 13 points and 10 assists, and the New York Knicks spoiled Gilbert Arenas’ return to NBA action with a 112-91 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
The Knicks’ point guard combo outplayed the more heralded duo of No. 1 draft pick John Wall and Arenas, who played in his first regular-season game in 10 months. And the Knicks’ guards had much more help up front, with Amare Stoudemire scoring 18 points and Danilo Gallinari chipping in 16.
Douglas followed his career-best 30-point outing Thursday, when the Knicks made 16 of 24 3-pointers in a 120-112 victory at Chicago, with another strong game, and fellow reserve Wilson Chandler scored 14 points.
Wall sported gold sneakers for his regular-season debut at the building where he was picked first overall in June. But his game wasn’t particularly shiny, especially compared to the 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals he had Tuesday in the Wizards’ home-opening victory over Philadelphia.
The rookie from Kentucky finished with 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting. He had seven assists but turned it over nine times.
He was joined in the backcourt at times by Arenas, who missed the first three games with an ankle injury and played in the regular season for the first time since Jan. 5, before he was suspended the final 50 games for carrying guns into the Verizon Center locker room.
Arenas scored 18 points, 14 in the final quarter to help Washington briefly make it close.
Wall said before the game that adding Arenas, a former All-Star, would give the Wizards ”another person that can knock down shots, another person that can push the ball, handle when me or Kirk (Hinrich) need a break or something. So he’s going to help us out a lot.”
Arenas finally shook off the rust after New York built a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. He scored nine straight Washington points during one stretch, and his jumper cut it to 94-88 with 6:52 remaining.
New York regrouped, getting a three-point play from Stoudemire and a 3-pointer by Gallinari to push the lead back to 12 and the Knicks stayed comfortably ahead from there.
It was the first game back at Madison Square Garden since the arena was closed Tuesday for an asbestos scare, forcing postponement of a game against Orlando. Debris had fallen into the arena during overnight maintenance the previous night, but city and environmental experts assured building officials there was no danger.
But though the air was safe, there always seems to be something – or someone – else hovering above the Garden.
Knicks officials had no interest in discussing comments made by former coach and president Isiah Thomas, who told ESPN.com that he hopes to return to his former executive position once Donnie Walsh retires ”every single day of the week.” Thomas also said he had a plan to get LeBron James last summer and hopes to be a part of his recruitment in 2014.
”I live in the present, so I’m not looking down the line too much,” Walsh said. ”I have nothing to say about comments that were made today by Isiah. I have nothing to say.”
Andray Blatche scored 16 of his 22 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 65 percent to open a 27-26 lead. The Wizards still led by one midway though the second before the Knicks scored 10 straight, highlighted by Chandler’s powerful reverse dunk, for a 52-43 lead.
Felton, who would need a healthy head start to beat Wall in a race, used an assortment of jumpers and floaters to score six straight later in the period, pushing the lead to 13, and the Knicks were up 58-49 at halftime.
Notes: New York has won the last four meetings. … Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said he thought Stoudemire’s turnover problems early in the season were because he’s ”just pressing a little bit.” Stoudemire committed 25 in the first four games, tying an NBA season high with nine in one game. D’Antoni said his power forward was trying to do too much when swarmed by multiple defenders, adding the ”whole team is dive-bombing him.” … Blatche was hit with a second-quarter technical foul for shoving the Knicks’ Ronny Turiaf in the back after they became tangled fighting for rebound position.