Two teams riding momentum from wins over top opponents meet Tuesday when the streaking Washington Wizards visit Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks for the first time this season.
The Wizards (20-16), who have won three straight and five of six, are coming off back-to-back wins over the NBA-leading Boston Celtics, including an 88-83 road victory Monday, when they finished the game on a 25-6 run to erase a 14-point deficit.
They had also outscored Boston 25-13 in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 85-78 win.
"We always seem to come back strong when our backs are against the wall. We did it Saturday night and we did it tonight in a tough road game," forward Antawn Jamison said after Monday's victory. "To beat these guys in back-to-back games considering how they've been playing is something special."
Forward Caron Butler scored nine of his 21 points during the game-clinching run, while Jamison had 20 points and 10 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double. Butler was also 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, extending his streak to 41 straight free throws made.
Butler and Jamison average a combined 43 points, making them the highest-scoring forward tandem in the NBA. They have helped Washington climb into fourth place in the Eastern Conference despite the absence of star guard Gilbert Arenas, who has been out since November after knee surgery.
"Our eyes are on winning a championship," Butler said. "Hopefully we get Gilbert back by March and when he comes back we will be even more dangerous."
The Wizards have also won three in a row on the road.
As impressive as Washington's recent wins over the Celtics were, the Knicks' 89-65 upset of Detroit on Sunday might have been even more surprising. New York (10-26) had lost five straight at home and nine of 10 overall before hosting the Pistons - owners of the league's second-best record .
The Knicks took advantage of a tired Pistons team that shot a dismal 30.7 percent from the field while playing its fourth game in five days. Zach Randolph had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who committed just seven turnovers, their lowest total since the 2000-01 season.
"We are a great team," Randolph told the team's official Web site. " We just have to come out night after night and play hard and stay focused."
The Knicks won without point guard Stephon Marbury, who will also miss at least the next two games with an ankle injury that may require surgery. However, Marbury is averaging a career-worst 13.9 points, and the Knicks have a better record without him (4-8) than with him this season than when he plays(6-18).
These teams split four meetings last season, with each winning once on the other's home court. Washington its most recent visit to New York 113-102 on Dec. 6, 2006, behind 38 points from Arenas and 33 from Jamison.
This is the first of two games between these clubs in a four-day span. New York plays at New Jersey on Wednesday before the rematch in Washington on Friday.
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