Rapid Reaction: Knicks 96, Wizards 88

WHAT IT MEANS: Early on, it looked like the Knicks wouldn't be able to get the payback Carmelo Anthony hoped for in their trip to Washington.

But then Anthony took matters into his own hands.

After a slow start, Anthony hit six of his 12 shots in an efficient second half to lift New York to a 96-88 win over the Wizards.

John Wall & Co. didn't help themselves by hitting just three of 17 shots in the fourth.

The Knicks have won three straight after their season-high four-game losing streak. They play Miami on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony started the game 3-for-12 but hit his first three shots in the second half and buried a 3-pointer with 2:30 to play in the fourth that gave the Knicks a commanding five-point lead.

Anthony called Friday night a "payback" game after the Knicks lost 106-96 to the Wizards on Feb. 6.

FELTON FEELING IT: Raymond Felton seemed pretty comfortable with Jason Kidd on the bench. Felton had 23 points, six rebounds and four assists.

His floater with 32.4 seconds to play sealed the win.

Tyson Chandler had six points and 10 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 13 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Amar'e Stoudemire had 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, and Kidd, in his first game off the bench, added four points, five assists and three rebounds.

KNICKS GOT A BREAK: A pivotal play came when refs whistled Wall for goaltending on a Kidd layup early in the fourth in the midst of the Knicks' 8-0 run to open the quarter.

Wall got a technical for protesting the call, which replays showed was incorrect. Anthony hit the free throw.

The three points gave the Knicks a 78-77 lead. They trailed by four after three quarters thanks to a 21-6 run by Washington to end the third.

DNP FOR K-MART: Kenyon Martin did not play against the Wizards. He has been on the floor for all of five minutes since the Knicks signed him Saturday to a 10-day contract. Wonder how much the Knicks have to see of Martin in order to make a decision on a second 10-day contract or a deal for the rest of the season?

WHAT'S NEXT: A showdown with the Miami Heat, who have won 13 straight.

The Knicks beat the Heat twice earlier in the season during their 18-6 start. New York hasn't been consistent since that hot start, so Sunday's game will be a good measuring stick to see where the Knicks are entering the stretch run.

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