WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Richard Hamilton scored 27 of his season-high 34 points in the opening half and starred during the decisive second quarter as the Washington Wizards handed the New York Knicks a 96-80 setback Friday night.
Michael Jordan recovered from a slow start to collect 19 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Wizards, who won their fifth straight game in dominating fashion over New York, which arrived in the Washington area at 6 a.m. local time.
The Knicks, who suffered a tough loss in Detroit on Thursday night, fell behind by 15 points late in the first half and were never in this one.
However, the night did not feature all good news for Washington, which lost starting forward Christian Laettner to a broken left fibula early in the first quarter. Laettner, the Wizards' fourth-leading scorer, will be sidelined for a month.
The one good stretch of the game for the Knicks came early in the second quarter, when they put together a quick 8-0 run to pull within 31-29 on a jumper by Othella Harrington, who finished with a team-high 18 points.
Hamilton and Jordan combined for all of Washington's points during an ensuing 11-1 run that essentially turned the contest into a laugher.
Jordan began the burst by making a technical free throw and Hamilton followed by driving into the lane for a basket. Jordan hit a jumper and Hamilton did the same after he made two free throws.
Shandon Anderson went 1-of-2 from the line for New York before Jordan's jumper gave the Wizards a commanding 40-29 advantage with 4:12 to play in the opening half.
Hamilton, being guarded by Allan Houston, was basically unstoppage in the second period, totaling 14 points. He finished 14-of-24 from the field and made all five of his free-throw attempts.
With just under three minutes left in the third quarter, Hamilton's 3-pointer from the top of the key pushed the Wizards' cushion to 75-58.