Wall puts on dazzling Christmas display, leads Wizards over Knicks, 102-91



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NEW YORK — John Wall is fast and flashy, a showman who practices 360-degree layups and then pulls them off in games.

And when he gets pushed, he pushes back.

Wall had 24 points and 11 assists, eluding the Knicks all day until getting knocked to the floor by a flagrant foul that sparked an altercation, and the Washington Wizards beat New York 102-91 on Thursday.

Wall toyed with the Knicks for 3 1/2 quarters, highlighted by his spinning layup, before Quincy Acy knocked him down with a forearm shove with 5:31 to play. Wall got up and pushed Acy, who responded with what appeared to be a punch that hit Wall behind the neck. Acy was ejected in the Christmas Day dust-up, and Wall received a technical foul.

"I'm just a feisty guy that likes to compete," Wall said. "And I want to win games."

Washington won this one easily, leading by as many as 22 and never trailing. Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards, who had their top five of Wall, Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat in the starting lineup for the first time this season.

"We came out with a lot of energy, ready to go from the start," Beal said, "and it's just going to continue to get better and better as the season goes on."

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points for the Knicks, who fell to 5-26 and have the most losses in the NBA. They have dropped six straight and 16 of 17.

"The fans are dying. We're dying. We're out there not producing," Anthony said.

Wall was dazzling in what could be a warmup for a trip to Madison Square Garden for the February All-Star game. He was the leading vote-getter among Eastern Conference guards when the first returns of fan balloting were released earlier Thursday.

He might expand that lead after a national TV audience got to see him make 10 of 17 shots, the prettiest his layup where he spun completely around in the air before scooping it in.

Acy found a way to slow him down, though he denied he threw a punch or did much else to warrant punishment.

"I mean, it's just a foul and he got up and reacted," Acy said.

Wall largely shrugged it off after the game.

"Like we always say: If you don't like physicality, go play golf," Pierce said.

The Wizards avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season. They have won five in a row against the hapless Knicks, who had Amare Stoudemire back in the lineup after he missed two games. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert remained out.

New York fell to 22-28 in a league-high 50 Christmas appearances.

Knicks President Phil Jackson tried to tell Knicks fans better times were ahead with a couple of holiday Twitter postings, in which he wrote, "Please be assured your hopes and wishes are getting through to Santa. He will bring you a better 2015 than 14."

Maybe, but first Washington added to this year's misery.

After a pregame moment of silence for Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, the police officers who were shot to death Saturday, the Wizards made their first four attempts and raced to an 11-2 lead.

TIP-INS

Wizards: The Wizards are 15-7 on Christmas. It was their first time playing on the holiday since a loss to Cleveland in 2008. ... Washington is 10-3 in December.

Knicks: Madison Square Garden's Garden of Dreams Foundation gave the Curtis family of South Salem, New York, a new car Thursday morning. Knicks center Samuel Dalembert presented the 2015 Kia Soul to the family, which has struggled since Maria Curtis was involved in a car accident last spring, leaving her without transportation to take her three sons to music classes. The Garden of Dreams is also paying the insurance for the first two years.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Wall's spinning shot wasn't just something he made up: "It's something I practice all the time, so it's pretty fun," he said. "I was happy to pull it off. In the Garden, can't get no better."

UP NEXT

Wizards: Host Boston on Saturday.

Knicks: Visit Sacramento on Saturday.


Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

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