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Posted Dec 5 2006 3:00PM
The New York Knicks are in the midst of their longest homestand of the season, and coach Isiah Thomas wants his team to shake its recent woes at Madison Square Garden and establish a home-court advantage.
The Knicks try for their second straight home win on Wednesday when they meet a Washington Wizards team still seeking its first road victory of the season.
New York (7-13) snapped a four-game losing streak at home with a 98-90 win over Memphis on Monday.
The Knicks are 2-7 at Madison Square Garden, and their only other home win was a 102-82 win over the Wizards (7-10) on Nov. 15. New York has won seven of its last eight at the Garden against Washington, which is 0-8 on the road this season.
Monday's win was the second game of a season-high six-game homestand for the Knicks, who are in a stretch of playing 10 of 11 at the Garden.
``If we're going to be serious playoff contenders, then we're going to have to control our home court and we're going to have to play better at home,'' Thomas said. ``And if we can do that this month, then we put ourselves in the race, and you're going down January, February, March, now things are a lot different.''
Eddy Curry scored 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting while grabbing a career high-tying 15 rebounds against the Grizzlies. He has scored 20 or more points in a career-high seven straight games, averaging 23.7 points on 60.4 percent shooting over that span.
``I kind of expect to go out there and have a nice game,'' Curry said, ``and expect to be a force out there and to help us win.''
Forward David Lee had a season-high 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting Monday to help lead the Knicks to a season-high 56.3 percent shooting.
``We're not satisfied at all right now,'' Lee said. ``We need to come back right now and win against Washington on Wednesday and then continue this streak and put together a streak at home.''
The Wizards are coming off an impressive win, defeating Dallas 106-97 on Monday to end the Mavericks' NBA-best 12-game winning streak.
``Tonight we just went out there and played hard and did what we do best,'' Gilbert Arenas said. ``This is one win we got that we told ourselves the way we'd been losing that we had to get a win. Now we have to go on the road and just play good basketball.''
Arenas scored 38 points and had eight assists Monday. He is, though, averaging only 17.6 points on the road this season - 8.5 below his season average - and had 22 points on 5-of-19 shooting (26.3 percent) against the Knicks at the Garden earlier this season.
The Wizards are being outscored by an average of 12.3 points on the road, and shot a season-low 31.5 percent at New York in November.
``Our problem hasn't been finding a way to get it done at home,'' said Antawn Jamison, who had 20 points and a season-high 12 rebounds against Dallas. ``It's been finding a way to bottle that energy and that passion at home and bringing it on the road.''
The Wizards have not lost nine straight on the road since an 11-game skid from Dec. 9, 2003-Jan. 24, 2004.
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